Somebody sure wanted a blockbuster No. 1 opening weekend for their new album. Along with the months-long promotional lead-up to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way album, sales for the release received an extra boost when Amazon made it available for 99 cents.
George Michael recently announced his plans to return to music with a new album and worldwide tour. Michael, now known more as a tabloid joke, is making his comeback to help improve his tarnished legacy, but not for solely selfish reasons. The singer said his return is for young gay people, who he felt he let down in his career by not being “out” publicly from the start.
Theatrical Rock legend Alice Cooper is pulling a Princess Leia and “performing” a show in England without attending it. The London show is being called the U.K.’s “first holographic 4D rock gig,” as Cooper and his band play in Hollywood while the British concert-goers watch a multidimensional hologram transmission.
As they seem to do every five years or so, The Beastie Boys have returned to the music world, just in time to provide a lesson to next-generation Pop tarts on how to have a long, successful career in music without sacrificing creative progress or integrity.
In 1969, if you’d told Ian Anderson — bug-eyed frontman for Jethro Tull — that one day he would be performing a duet with someone floating 220 miles above the earth … well, he probably would have said, “But, of course” (drugs were pretty popular that year).
If you were attending an esteemed university and ready to enter the job market, what would you do if some of your fellow students pulled a stunt that made your school a national laughing stock? If it’s New Jersey’s Rutgers and the stunt is paying a flash-in-the-pan reality TV star a shit-ton to speak on campus, you reach out to The Boss.
Some artists are so beloved they could release an album of songs performed on ukulele and fans would still buy the shit out of it. That’s not hyperbole — Eddie Vedder is putting the theory to the test with the upcoming release of Ukulele Songs, a collection of originals and covers performed by Vedder on — you guessed it — a ukulele.
After releasing what is arguably the greatest album in Pop and Rock history, Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys began working on the trippy, orchestral could-be masterpiece Smile, which was scrapped due to inter-band squabbles and mastermind Brian Wilson’s shaky mental state.
A remarkably self-aware Phil Collins announced plans to retire from music. The former Genesis singer/drummer and solo sensation is apparently that rare breed of successful musical artist who knows when it’s time to throw in the towel. And the fact that it has at least something to do with public disdain gives hope for those who wish Fred Durst and Jimmy Buffett would follow him into retirement.
Several Pop stars have found themselves in the spotlight recently for performing in service of a restrictive dictatorship … and we’re not even talking about Clear Channel! The New York Times recently highlighted a juicy tidbit from the infamous WikiLeaks cables about how celebrity performers like Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Usher and 50 Cent all accepted huge paychecks to entertain relatives of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The popularity of left-for-dead formats in some circles makes us wish we had saved that Sha Na Na flexi-disc that came with a box of Tide mom bought in 1977. Vinyl died and then was instantly reborn and had a cult following. A growing network of underground artists and tape buffs have resuscitated the cassette as a hip period-piece/music provider. And now the clunky 8-track tape is getting a second look.
Given Austin, Texas, reputation as the most hipstery part of the Lone Star state, you’d think they’d know better, but city officials still went to its citizens to find a new name for its Solid Waste Services Department, responsible for things like recycling and garbage collection. The city put up an online poll to decide the new name and the runaway winner so far is the “Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts."
Trying to come up with a fake major while stoned in college is easy (“Dude, I wish I could major in, like, pot studies or ’80s TV sitcoms or something.”). But trying to come up with a real major can be a bitch, especially as technology and a tanking economy have shifted and narrowed the job market. But every now and then, a college will irresponsibly offer advanced degrees in frivolous studies.
When it comes to snortable human residue stories (boy, we’ve all got a few, don’t we?), nothing will ever top Keith Richards’ disclosure that he inhaled some of the ashes of his dead father. But former Oasis/current Beady Eye frontman Liam Gallagher recently told a tale to Q Magazine that comes close to Richards’ revelation.
Several months ago we told you about a new video game based on ’70s rockers REO Speedwagon. If you thought, “That has to be the weirdest, most random and unlikely band to have its own video game,” you were right. Until now.