Nike: Decidedly Not Punk Rock
"Punk Rock" is definitely not what it used to be -- the commercialization of it ranges from the rise of multi-platinum major-labelers like Green Day (who've had songs in Pepsi commercials) and blink 182 (whose drummer stars in a reality TV show) to mall stores designed to appeal to the "Punk youth" of today. But before marketers look to totally rape and pillage the music's past and present, they might want to look at who they're fucking with. Nike is under fire for outright stealing imagery used by groundbreaking Punk band Minor Threat for its "Major Threat" campaign promoting a skateboarding tour. The Nike poster is a note-for-note "homage" to the band's 1984 album cover. Minor Threat was fronted by Ian MacKaye, the model of Punk integrity and co-founder of staunchly D.I.Y. indie label Dischord Records. A spokesperson for Dischord -- which owns the copyright of the image -- told online 'zine Pitchfork that they were never approached by the shoemaker, adding that the company is practically the "antithesis" of everything they stand for and calling their actions "disgusting." So the Ian MacKaye "No Stage Diving!" X-Box game is totally out of the question?
8: Not Enough?
Saturday's global Live 8 concerts -- a modernized Live Aid timed to the "G8" summit that's aimed at raising awareness about poverty-stricken nations and calling for the end of governmental debt incurred by struggling countries -- is being heavily criticized from many different angles.
Some detractors say the lineups are woefully out of touch, while others have been critical of what they see as an under-representation of black and African artists (much of the debt relief focus is on countries in Africa). John O'Shea, an executive for worldwide aid charity Goal, told British newspaper The Guardian that the musical efforts are misguided, saying that the burdened countries need immediate action and not merely talk and awareness-spreading. Bono, a key participant, was grilled by Tim Russert on Meet the Press about some of the questions surrounding the logic behind giving debt relief to countries controlled by rich, corrupt dictators who would use the economic advantage to simply pad their gold-encrusted pocketbooks. (Bono said mechanisms are in place to avoid this.) And always comically outspoken Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher offered his take on the whole affair, saying in a story in the British Observer Music Monthly: "Are they hoping one of these guys from the G8 sees Annie Lennox singing 'Sweet Dreams' and thinks, 'Fuck me, she might have a point there, you know?' It's not going to fucking happen, is it?" Whatever you do, don't take your complaints to main organizer/figurehead Bob Geldof. After the event's announcement, Geldof said that if G8 leaders don't want to hear what they have to say, "They can fuck off." Ah, now there's some diplomacy at least the Bush administration can understand.
Giant Melon-Sized Ego and the Infinite Self-Indulgence
Billy Corgan's first solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, was released June 21, but the self-absorbed singer's recent actions sound more like someone who's desperately attached to his past. The AltRock pioneer bought two full-page ads in Chicago newspapers the same day his album dropped suggesting that the band that brought him his first and biggest taste of fame would be reuniting. Way to promote, Billy, but "publicity girlfriends" (let's call 'em "Cruisers") are way less obvious. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain told The Chicago Sun-Times he was on board but was unsure about guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy Wretzky (who Chamberlain hasn't spoken to since she left the Pumpkins in 1999). Corgan has also been looking even further back into his past with a rambling journal/autobiography on myspace.com that goes back to his early childhood. Can you say "mid-life crisis?" Can hair transplants be far behind?