Stairway to Lung Cancer?
In an interview with the New York Post, Rock journalist Charles R. Cross (whose most recent book is the biography Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls) said that around 100 DJs insisted to him that the only reason “Stairway to Heaven” became such a Rock radio staple (one of the most requested and played on FM radio ever) was because of its smokebreak-friendly length. Cigarette companies can be blamed for a lot of evil things (cancer, bad breath, Joe Camel), but Cross’ claim might be the result of those DJs smoking something other than tobacco. At just over eight minutes long, it would seem a DJ would be able to smoke at least two before Robert Plant’s final “Hea-vun.”
If Cross and his DJ pals’ theory is true, Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” (clocking in at a whopping 18 minutes and 34 seconds) would be more than twice as popular as “Stairway” (in turn, making Classic Rock over twice as boring). Maybe cigarettes used to be a foot long back in the early ’70s? Maybe the DJs were all loaded on coke and couldn’t shut up during these epic “smokebreaks”? Or maybe they were just too embarrassed to tell Cross that they put the song on only when they had to take a dump.
Sad Songs Pay So Much
Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is being subpoenaed, and it has nothing to do with that haircut! (Insert rim shot and catty zig-zag fingersnap here.) California resident Erik Estavillo is summoning Gore as a sort of “misery expert” to testify in his lawsuit against the company behind the “harmful virtual environment” that is the video game World of Warcraft.
Estavillo (seriously) claims that the game has made him a depressed social outcast and he wants a million bucks for his suffering. Given reports of dude’s history of lawsuits (among similarly zany efforts, he has taken on Nintendo for blocking some Wii software and thusly his ability to be happy), we’re guessing that winning the case will be harder than shooting the Arrow of the Piercing Void and then using the Eclipse Scythe to beat the final Arch Fiend in the 14th chapter of Ninja Gaiden. (If you know what that means … really, take a walk around the block or something.)
Gore’s presence is being requested because (again, seriously) his ability to write effective sad songs means he understands Estavillo’s isolation. Winona Ryder is reportedly also being subpoenaed, not because of her romantic involvement with Ryan Adams but because Catcher in the Rye is her favorite book (promise, we are not making this shit up!). Everything about this story is so ridiculous that we feel comfortable with officially breaking the news that Sacha Baron Cohen’s next film is titled Erik Estavillo, a Borat-styled romp about a video game nerd with an unreasonable sense of self-importance and irrational amount of free time.
Two rappers in the U.K. were recently found guilty of intimidating potential witnesses of a murder with a song and accompanying video posted on the Web. Perhaps taking a music-as-weapon cue from U.S. government officials who allowed terrorism “suspects” to be tortured with annoying popular music, the young MCs — who had been arrested but not prosecuted in conjunction with the murder of a 24-year-old man from West London — are accused of using their track “Wrong Team” to virally spread the message that if anyone snitched to cops they’d be killed.
The karma police have apparently done their job: One of the men received a four-year sentence, while the other got more than two years. No word on whether Morrissey will be prosecuted for demanding the lynching of DJs or if Billy Ocean will be jailed for luring women into his car (after forcefully evicting them from his dreams).