Saturday, July 21, 2012

Universal get more time

As the Universal takeover of EMI gets caught up in regulators' worries about monopoly, Citibank have offered Vivendi longer to complete the deal.

The cash was supposed to have changed hands by September; now, to give time for the company to work out how to offload enough parts to keep everyone happy.

Hilariously, Richard Branson is talking about buying back Virgin:

"Richard Branson and Virgin have been assessing how to get back into recorded music business for many years," said a spokesman for Virgin Group. "The potential disposal of Virgin Records by Universal Music offers a wonderful opportunity to recreate a dynamic independent label in the market."
For many years? He can't have been assessing how to get back into music for more than five years, as up until 2007 Branson was part-owner of V2. Which was, erm, sold to Universal.

(It's worth noting that when Branson founded V2, he only owned 5% of it; the rest was held by Morgan Stanley. I know, imagine a record label mostly owned by a bank. Crazy, huh?)

While it might be fun for Richard to buy back Virgin, the failure of V2 should be evidence enough that he doesn't have a magic touch. And V2 was founded in 1996, when the music business still bore a superficial resemblance to the one in which Branson thrived in the early days of Virgin. And while the Virgin Group had a retail network.

However much people might want to believe that Beardie back at Virgin Records is a Leno-returns-to-Tonight story, it's much more likely to be akin to that awkward couple of episodes where Bet Lynch went back to Corrie, look confused and was swiftly written out again.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gordon in the morning: May the Olympics never end

No, seriously, I want the Olympic games to run forever. Without a finish; without the need to have a closing ceremony.

Because Beady sodding Eye have been booked to do an Oasis cover just before the mayor of Rio gets the big flag.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Barlow garlands

Gordon is announcing this morning that Gary Barlow is being nominated for a Music Industry Trusts Award.

Hmm. Really? The Music Industry Trusts is going to give its prize to someone who has been accused of using music industry investments as a way to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Are they sure that's such a good idea?

At a time when, say, music education in schools is being cut back couldn't the Music Industry Trusts find someone who isn't averse to helping out by not trying to avoid the taxes that fund services like that?

I don't often say this, but well done to Gordon Smart for revealing this scandal in the making. (I don't think that's what he thought he was doing, obviously.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bikini Kill: New thrill

This year, it's twenty-five years since Bikini Kill started.

How do you mark an occasion like that? Turns out by launching a record label of the same name:

As our 25th anniversary approaches, Bikini Kill has decided to start our own record label called Bikini Kill Records. The Bikini Kill back catalog is currently available digitally via, eMusic & iTunes. The Frumpies and Casual Dots are also up for sale now. We are working towards reissuing the physical Bikini Kill records one at a time. There are brand new Bikini Kill T Shirts available from at this time with more merch to come in the near future.

Bikini Kill's Self-Titled EP will come out in the fall of 2012 to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of its original release. We also plan to re-release our original demo tape, which contains songs that were previously unavailable and/or hard to find on vinyl & CD. We are currently going through our archive, which include photographs, practice tapes, live recordings, unreleased songs, films, video, writing, interviews, zines and flyers that we intend to feature on future releases and document on our website. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news about our progress.
Best. Jubilee. Ever.

Meat Loaf still at war with his double

Four years ago, Meat Loaf impersonator Dean Torkington was targeted by Meat Loaf himself. Back then, it was mainly down to the painting on the side of Dean's motor home.

They're still at war, though:

A Meat Loaf tribute artist from Lancashire is fighting a $100,000 (£64,000) writ from the US rock star, who accuses him of being a “cybersquatter and online imposter”.

Dean Torkington, 49, from Burnley, Lancashire, has used the domain name since 2000. Torkington, who has performed his show To Hell And Back: (A Tribute to Meatloaf) for 16 years, argues that since he has shed 11 stone in the last two years, he could no longer be considered a “dead ringer” for the well-upholstered rocker.
Yes, that's right - the man who made his name pretending to be Meat Loaf is now too grand to be Meat Loaf. Or not grande enough:
“To be honest, losing all the weight wasn’t good for a Meat Loaf tribute act anyway. His pursuit of me through the courts has left me thinking differently about him. I do include some of his music in the show but I see it more as a tribute to the songs rather than the man.”
Dean suggests that, perhaps, his original material has sparked jealousy:
Torkington believes that his own original album, The Bat Strikes Back, angered Meat Loaf and provoked the writ . He asks: “Could the reason be it got a better review than Bat Out Of Hell 3 in Classic Rock Magazine?”
I don't think anyone of us can claim to know what goes on in Meat Loaf's mind, but I'm prepared to guess that, no, that couldn't be the reason.

According to The Independent:
Torkington met Meat Loaf backstage after a Liverpool concert in 2003 and claims the star asked him to hand over the domain name for £1,300. He declined.

Hmm. Let's look back at the Lancashire Evening Post in 2008:
He said the problem first surfaced last year when he was sat in the front row of a Meat Loaf concert in Liverpool when a man dressed in black handed him a note saying that the American singer wanted to meet him backstage.
"Then Meat Loaf's manager questioned me about using the website domain that I have. I told him that I would change the van but there was no way they were taking my website as I have had it for 15 years and it is really popular.
So either this happened "last year" from 2008, which would be 2007, or else in 2003. The story is all a bit confused, isn't it?

Gordon in the morning: Bad call

There's a photo been released by Bliss magazine of Little Mix bouncing about, styled after a girl's night in. Gordon seems a bit obsessed by it, though:

BLONDE X Factor winner poses with phone as she reveals girlband are still in touch with Tulisa
WONDER how long the other Little Mix girls waited before they told Perrie Edwards she’s holding a telephone and not a microphone?
Obviously, for the column which gave us Piers Morgan, Andy Coulson et al, misuse of the telephone is something of an expert subject, but is it really such an odd pose that it's worth mentioning not just as the intro, but also the teaser for the story?

And how come Gordon either doesn't seem to have noticed or care that, er, one of them appears to be singing into a lollipop.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Countryobit: Kitty Wells

Kitty Wells, country legend, has died. She was 92.

Amazingly, Kitty nearly retired in 1952.

Then Hank Thompson recorded this:

And JD Miller wrote a response song, which Kitty was persuaded to record. That would be this:

She put retirement off for another 48 years after that.

UPDATE: Corrected to the right Hank.

Gordon in the morning: He hit me, and it felt like a crossover hit

Gordon interviews Maroon 5's Adam Levine this morning. Do you know what makes Levine cross?

I’m of the belief that because our culture has changed so much, people don’t find that exclusivity very important any more, which I love because I hate it.

People who tell me they only like one kind of music, I want to punch them in the face.
Violence is never the answer, although if people tell you they only like one kind of music, and it's Maroon 5, you might struggle to not make an exception.

The Sun clearly realises that Levine's dull in his own right, as most of the page reporting the interview is given over to three massive photos of Behati Prinsloo in her pants. You wonder if they'd even have bothered to talk to him if he didn't provide an excuse for lingerie pictures.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Progobit: Jon Lord

Jon Lord, keyboardist with Deep Purple, has died.

There's a statement on his website:

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.

Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.

Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.

Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.

Jon passes from Darkness to Light.
For a band whose very name created the aura of an Upper Common Room beard-stroking, their origins were deeply rooted in manufactured novelty pop. Lord came together with Nick Simper after The Flowerpot Men had a hit with Lets Go To San Francisco, and their label Deram needed a band to go out and play it. It's a bit like Mumford And Sons starting out as some of the Sugababes.

Jon Lord was 71.

LiveNation explains that Springsteen axe was for public safety

LiveNation has offered an explanation for why the Springsteen gig was cut short:

"It was unfortunate that the three hour plus performance by Bruce Springsteen was stopped right at the very end but the curfew is laid down by the authorities in the interest of the public's health and safety. Road closures around Hyde Park are put in place at specific times to make sure everyone can exit the area in safety."
You've got to love the "three hour plus" bit there - you can almost hear the sighing of "how much more did you want?" - but the suggestion that letting them get to the end of Twist And Shout would have meant the road safety measures would have been torn down seems a little unlikely.

Presumably the real reason would have been fines from Westminster City Council?

Gordon in the morning: What I did on my holidays

Today's Bizarre resembles some sort of shoddy MySpace page, as Gordon files some blurry photos of him hanging out backstage with Noel Gallagher:

Noel Gallagher and showbiz mates have all-night tear-up at Benicassim
The fact that Smart appears in all the photos on the page makes it clear that he's seeing himself as one of those "showbiz mates".

Oh, yes. You're not, I think, meant to be reading the phrase "showbiz mates" in a Simon Bates voice - I think it's meant to be serious.

Although Gordon was clearly there, for some reason he seems to have missed any of the stories - such as they are - as he relies on a strange, anonymous source:
A source backstage said: “Noel was on top form — it was his first chance to have a night out with the Roses.

“Ian Brown was doing magic tricks for the lads, including bandmate Mani.

“Noel was going to knock Dizzee’s baseball cap off to make his point.

“It was quite a collection of hardened drinkers — Buzzcocks’ Steve Diggle is a punk legend.”
Clearly, the "source backstage" was Smart, but he must have been too embarrassed to attribute a quote about someone almost pinching someone's cap to himself.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Far-right French party to sue Madonna

A couple of weeks ago, the Front National threatened to sue Madonna if she kept superimposing a swastika over the face of Marine Le Pen. Presumably they're such strict French nationalists they're appalled at the suggestion they'd need to import a symbol from another country.

Now, they're going to go ahead and sue:

[National Front vice-president Florian] Philippot said: "This is just another provocation in Madonna's world tour so that people will talk about her."
Well, thank god you didn't fall into that trap and draw attention to her, eh, Mr. Philippot?
"Marine Le Pen will defend not only her own honour but her supporters and the millions of National Front voters."
At this stage it's unclear if Madonna was also responsible for the Front National manifesto for the French elections appearing with Nazi-style symbolism all over it.

London shows why it's the perfect place to hold the Olympics

Obviously, there has to be some sort of compromise with gigs and noise levels. But pulling the plug on a McCartney/Springsteen hook-up in Hyde Park when it appeared to only have a minute or two left to run seems a bit extreme.

Still, the 'London pulls power on gig' cock-up story will help take some of the attention off the 'London security shambles' story for a while.

Yes, rules are rules, even for people who've sold a lot of records, but surely, if you don't feel you can let an event run past its scheduled end, you don't invite Bruce Springsteen? The man's live music overruns so badly he can't parp his car horn without it turning into a forty-minute jam.

The world could have been waking up to positive stories about the astonishing collaboration in Hyde Park last night; instead it's more knocking copy. Well done, everybody. Well done.

This week just gone

The most-read 2012 stories in the first half of the year were:

1. Noel Gallagher yearns for the days of Thatcher
2. The Sun draws attention to the Tulisa sex tape
3. MySpace is resurgent... kinda
4. Brits 2012 liveblog
5. Mick Jagger loves Boris Johnson
6. Frank Skinner thinks the Brits aren't as good as they were in the past. You know, when he presented them.
7. Spotify believe they're about to kill iTunes
8. Kanye West reckons he could have been an architect
9. Whitney Houston: was she really a great singer?
10. Kerrang Awards 2012: The shortlist

These were the interesting releases:

Shrag - Canines

Download Canines

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Download Swing Lo Magellan

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - Hidden People

Download Hidden People

Duke Special - Oh, Pioneer

Download Oh Pioneer

Bananarama - 30 Years Of Bananananarama

Download 30 Years