Phil Spector outside the Clara Shortridge Foltz courthouse in Los Angeles on March 5, 2009
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images
The Week In Music: Pacino To Play Spector
If to know know know him is to love him, maybe we'll love legendary music producer Phil Spector just a little bit more after Al Pacino plays him in a reported upcoming HBO biopic written by David Mamet. Certainly Pacino helped humanize Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the so-called Dr. Death, in HBO's You Don’t Know Jack. Perhaps he can bring some much-needed pathos to the Spector story. For you kids, Spector, who is currently serving a 19-years-to-life sentence for murdering actress Lana Clarkson, created the Wall of Sound in the early '60s with acts such as the Ronettes and Righteous Brothers, and went on to produce the Beatles and the Ramones.
In Caltrans/music news, the Imperial Stars — a Southern California outfit of "hard core hip-hop heads" — wreaked a bit of freeway havoc on Oct. 12. The band blocked all but one lane on Interstate 101 in Hollywood, Calif., for what appeared to be a performance on top of a large truck advertising the band. Unfortunately, the California Highway Patrol was not amused by the stunt and arrested the band members and had the truck towed, all while traffic had extended into the San Fernando Valley. As for the Stars? "Imperial Stars OUT OF JAIL we will be having dinner in hollywood tonight. Who wants to join us??? Stay tuned for location...," the band tweeted the day after. It would seem this elaborate scheme was an effort to promote the band's latest video for the aptly titled "Traffic Jam 101." Pretty savvy for a bunch of hip-hop heads, but while the video has received more than 35,000 views, one viewer offered the Stars a bit of A&R advice: "WTF? They should have sent a demo team out to the 101 rather than a tow truck."
Vince Neil is no stranger to excess, evidenced by three decades of decadence with Mötley Crüe and the name of his new autobiography, Tattoos & Tequila. But Neil has shown a sharp eye for fiscal responsibility when it comes to his dogs, dogs, dogs. Faced with spending thousands of dollars to charter planes to cart his two cocker spaniels between his homes in San Francisco and Las Vegas, Neil has purchased a private jet exclusively for transporting his motley mutts. "Just because of them I had to buy a jet," said Neil. "I would have to charter planes for the dogs all the time and it was getting so expensive that I realized it was cheaper to buy a plane than to keep chartering it."
There's no swearing in Eminem's house, he swears. During an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Oct. 10, Eminem was a virtual Parents Music Resource Center answer service. Does he feel a sense of a responsibility to his young fans? "I feel like it's [parents'] job to parent [their kids]," said Eminem. And how does he treat his kids? "Profanity around my house? No." Eminem is currently raising daughter Hailie, 14, with ex-wife Kim and is also raising Lainey, daughter of Kim's sister, and Whitney, Kim's daughter from a previous relationship. So why the expletives in Eminem's music and not at home? "Music, this is my art," he told "60 Minutes."
Has the untamable Miley Cyrus gone too far? The Parents Television Council thinks so, taking to task her new video for "Who Owns My Heart?" The council, which describes itself as a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment, released a statement saying, "It is unfortunate that she would participate in such a sexualized video like this one. It sends messages to her fan base that are diametrically opposed to everything she has done up to this point. Miley built her fame and fortune entirely on the backs of young girls, and it saddens us that she seems so eager to distance herself from that fan base so rapidly." Stirring the pot even further, Miley's dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, sits on the PTC's advisory board. No word on whether Papa Cyrus was advised regarding the council's statement, but this incident has to break his achy breaky heart.
All seems to be right again in Weezer's world. The band announced it will release a new album, Death To False Metal, on Nov. 1. Even better for Rivers Cuomo and friends, the campaign to break up the band has been officially halted by organizer James Burns. "The amount of attention this thing has gotten is unreal. I expected to ruffle a few feathers, but this is pretty insane," said Burns, who intimated that the campaign was a hoax from the start. "I figured since the Internet wasted so much of my time with all the ridiculous articles about the new Weezer album, I thought I'd return the favor and waste some of the Internet's time. Boy howdy, did I succeed." At last count, the campaign had raised more than $2,000. Boy howdy, we hope all the contributors got their money back.
An ambitious 23-year-old Chinese musician has accomplished what some master pianists, such as a Bill Evans or Earl Wild, might consider an impossible feat — playing the piano without the most vital tools: arms. Pianist Liu Wei wowed the crowd on the final night of "China's Got Talent" in Shanghai, winning the competition with an almost unbelievable performance of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," using nothing but his 10 toes. Wei lost both of his arms in a freak electrocution accident at the age of 10, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a concert pianist. "At least I have a pair of perfect legs," Wei said. He does have legs and he most certainly knows how to use them.
If you're looking to give love a bad name with blood red nails on your fingertips, you won't find it in the new line of polish from TWIM heartthrob Justin Bieber and nail care company OPI. Inspired by the music behind his biggest hits, Bieber fans can wear his fame on their fingertips in an assortment of shades and flavors, including One Less Lonely Glitter (lavender), Prized Possession Purple (grape), Give Me The First Dance (silver), and Me + Blue (dark blue). The hues will be available exclusively through WalMart beginning in December, just in time for Christmas. Hey, these may even make great companion stocking stuffers for the Bieber doll.
As David Letterman might say: Oprah, meet Ryan. Ryan, meet Oprah. Looks like Oprah's not the only one starting her own cable channel. Add "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest to the list. Teaming with AEG and CAA, Seacrest will be one of the leads behind AXS, a new music channel that will pull from AEG concert and live venue assets, according to Rolling Stone. In addition to hosting "Idol," Seacrest also hosts "E! News" and the radio show "America's Top 40," and produces "Keeping Up With Kardashians." At this rate, his next challenge will be keeping up with himself.
New Jersey has them. New York has them. Orange County, Calif., has them. And now the rock world will have them too. Real housewives. E! is teaming with "Real World" producer Bunim/Murray Productions for a new docuseries titled "Married To Rock," premiering Nov. 7. The show will feature a cast of no doubt entertaining ladies, including Etty Farrell, wife of Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell; Susan Holmes McKagan, wife of former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan; Josie Stevens, wife of Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens; and AJ Celi, girlfriend of the Cult guitarist Billy Duffy. "We're raising the curtain on the rock and roll lifestyle and showing there's more to it than the late-night partying, ravaged hotel rooms and jet-set life we've all read about," said Lisa Berger, executive VP of programming at E! No word on whether rock debutante Pamela Anderson will make an appearance with Tommy Lee and/or Kid Rock.
Bruno Mars "Just The Way You Are" holds on to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 while Taylor Swift's "Back To December" is No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.
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