Photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images
The Week In Music: Nickelback Assaulted Via Twitter
Canadian rockers battle it out with detractors, tweet-y-tweet
When recalling the frostiest music feuds of all time, Guns N' Roses vs. Nirvana, Moby vs. Eminem, Biggie vs. Tupac, and Gallagher vs. Gallagher immediately come to mind. But the Black Keys' recent verbal assault of Nickelback may be a candidate to shoot to the top of the war list, with an assist from Twitter. It all started in early January when Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney took the opportunity to denigrate the Canadian rockers in a Rolling Stone interview: "Rock and roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be s. …" This dart may have been the inspiration behind a series of Twitter insults aimed at the Canadian rockers, with one fan recently tweeting: "Was driving down the street, and a @Nickelback song came on. I had an aneurism and violently s myself at the same time. And my dog died." Proving they're not afraid of their detractors, Chad Kroeger and Co. tweeted back: "I bet it was the best day you've had in awhile. #yourwelcome." A second fan fired another round, tweeting that hearing a Nickelback song was worse than hearing Rebecca Black, followed by the hashtag #earsbleeding. Nickelback's reply? "Then it's working?!?!? Sweet!" We'll be monitoring this Twitter tussle to see if the repartee continues to fly. Meanwhile, we offer a peaceful thought in the form of Nickelback's "If Everyone Cared."
While Music's Biggest Night, the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, is just two weeks away, on Feb. 5 all eyes will be on Super Bowl XLVI. But the game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants won't be the only action on the table. Rapper/producer Brian "Birdman" Williams is thinking the Tom Brady-led Patriots will emerge victorious, and he's looking to put his money where his mouth is. "I like New ENGLaNd.my nephew play RB# 42.I'm Bet 5million 2 any n-.like tha Giants YMCMB.BabyMoney anybody kan Getit," Birdman tweeted cryptically. Translating the message, it seems Birdman is planning to bet on the Patriots to the tune of $5 million. While that's big money to the rest of us nonbird folk, it's chump change to the rapper, who usually walks around sporting $1 million worth of jewelry and orthodontia bling. And it turns out the Birdman likes to gamble big. Last year, he cashed in $1 million on the Super Bowl, when he bet the Green Bay Packers would win, though he did lose $2 million on the NBA Finals when the Miami Heat were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks. Interestingly, Birdman recently claimed he is a New Orleans Saints fan. It's just more proof that when it comes to sports wagers, all loyalty is off.
What do Metallica's James Hetfield and Hulk Hogan have in common? They're both muscular (one maybe more than the other). They both have machinelike skills that can put fire ablaze in the hearts of metal and wrestling fans alike. And they both (at one point) had blond hair. Oh, and both of their last names begin with H. But Hetfield and Hogan may have more in common as the famed wrestling champion recently revealed to The Sun that he almost joined an early version of Metallica. "I used to be a session musician before I was a wrestler," Hogan said. "I played bass guitar. I was big pals with Lars Ulrich and he asked me if I wanted to play bass with Metallica in their early days, but it didn't work out." Speaking on the topic of music, Hogan also mentioned indie rock quartet Kasabian, who have been known to check into hotel rooms under the Hulk's name. "I heard about these guys," Hogan said. "They [had] made a show about UK wrestling in the '80s called 'Walk Like A Panther.' I know Rollerball Rocco, he's in it. He's my guy. I'll be his tag partner and sort them out for trashing hotel rooms under my name." Let this be a lesson: Never check into a hotel under the name Hulk Hogan, and if you're given a chance to perform with Metallica, take it.
Clearly rapper/actor Ice-T hasn't been wasting any time watching the dozens (and dozens …) of Republican presidential debates. He believes President Barack Obama will extend his stay in the White House, and he's already got his candidate picked for 2016: Hillary Clinton. "She did the Secretary of State job, she was a 'G,' she held it down, she didn't cry," -T said at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where he's promoting his directorial debut, the documentary Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap. "Obama will support her and she'll be the first woman president." Just one problem: Clinton may not support herself. She announced Thursday to Department of State staffers that she was tired of "the high wire of American politics," and would not re-up with the Obama administration. Ice-T may already be looking for a new "G" to support for president, but at least he can take solace in the fact that Clinton didn't shed any tears during her address.
If you're looking for new music and a good cause to support (and have an extra five-and-a-half hours to spare), you might consider picking up the newly released Chimes Of Freedom — The Songs Of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International). The four-disc set is one of the largest charity compilations in recent history as it features 76 Bob Dylan covers by artists ranging from Adele and TWIM favorites Miley Cyrus and Ke$ha, to Diana Krall, Sinéad O'Connor and Pete Seeger. Cyrus has clearly come a long way from her "Hannah Montana" days and performs a country-tinged cover of Dylan's early sorrowful recording "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go". And Ke$ha puts down her bottle of Jack to turn in a stripped-down, (literally) tearful version of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." Craving more covers? You can preview the entire album here.
Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" is tops on the iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.
For the latest GRAMMY news, visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Last Week In Music
Maroon 5 Auction To Benefit GRAMMY Foundation
Auction offers pairs of tickets to GRAMMY-winning band's Southern California dates on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6
The GRAMMY Foundation will auction 80 pairs of tickets to Maroon 5's upcoming performances with Kelly Clarkson and Rozzi Crane on Oct. 4 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif., and Oct. 6 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The auction for both concerts is open now and ends Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. PST.
Proceeds will benefit the GRAMMY Foundation, which cultivates the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the impact of music on American culture through music education programs, scholarships and grants.
ArtsWatch: YouTube Music Key's Big Beta Launch
New music subscription service hopes to leverage Google's scale and unique features
In recent news ...
YouTube Unveils Subscription Music Service
On Nov. 12 Google-owned YouTube announced the beta launch of its new Music Key subscription service. The initial monthly fee will be $7.99, mostly to avoid ads preceding videos, and includes a subscription to Google Play Music. YouTube now has licenses with the three major labels and a new indie deal through Merlin; however, on the day of Music Key's announcement, prominent industry figure Irving Azoff threatened to pull as many as 20,000 songs by artists he represents from YouTube. Apart from the subscription service, but benefitting it, YouTube has also put new interactive features online, particularly on mobile, including higher quality tracks, the ability to find and play complete albums easily, better access to discographic information, and better aggregation of artists' related content. This represents a licensing breakthrough by a tech giant, enabling better competition with Apple Beats and Spotify. With label support, YouTube's advantages as a top Internet destination grow beyond its boasts of 1 billion unique monthly visitors.
Senate Judiciary Chair Calls For Equal Treatment Under Copyright Law
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced S. 2919, the Copyright and Marriage Equality Act, on Nov. 12, proposing to amend the definitions of "widow" and "widower" under statutory copyright law so that the ability for surviving spouses to inherit intellectual property rights applies consistently to same-sex marriages. Penning a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, Leahy wrote that S. 2919 "will ensure that the rights attached to the works of our nation's gay and lesbian authors, musicians, painters, sculptors, and other creators pass to their spouses the way they now do for heterosexual creators. Artists are the creative lifeblood of our nation, and our laws should protect their families equally." Companion bill H.R. 5617 was introduced in the House of Representatives in September. Because Republicans recently won control of the Senate, Leahy will relinquish his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, reportedly to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). No one is certain what legislation can still move during the outgoing Congress' remaining term, but Leahy has focused attention on this issue by introducing the bill following his party's loss.
"Dark Market" Websites Shut Down By Law Enforcement
On Nov. 7 the Department of Justice announced that more than 400 "dark market" websites — using Tor anonymity technology to hide criminal commerce in drugs and guns and more — were seized and taken down by law enforcement in the United States and Europe. The ability to cut through Internet criminals' efforts to remain anonymous meant real progress in the previously reported Silk Road 2.0 arrest, and these hundreds of related website seizures suggest law enforcement has improved its technical capacity to shine light into the Internet's dark corners where piracy also thrives. Troels Oerting, head of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, said, "This time we have … hit services on the Darknet using Tor where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach. We can now show that they are neither invisible nor untouchable."
Debates Put The Internet's Future In Focus
New developments highlight how the Internet is simultaneously something people love to use and a massive network overseen by government agencies, trade groups and a variety of stakeholder associations. On Nov. 7, the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union completed a three-week plenipotentiary conference, an event held every four years. The Department of State celebrated the accomplishment of the United States' major policy objectives, including maintaining the ITU's mandate, which many other governments oppose. A new working group will also hold consultations with all stakeholders to better develop "international Internet-related public policy." Likely timed to benefit from ITU conference coverage, the NETmundial Initiative announced its formation on Nov. 6, with founding participants ICANN, the World Economic Forum and Brazil's Internet Steering Committee. The new initiative, which follows NETmundial, an international Internet policy conference held in Brazil in April, hopes to make progress in the same open spirit. Separately, President Barack Obama surprised telecommunications industry observers on Nov. 10 by endorsing the strongest possible regulatory approach to achieve open Internet goals, such as prohibiting throttling and paid prioritization of data. Because the Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency, the president has no direct regulatory authority to craft Internet policy. Thus, his remarks stake out a strong but generally advisory political position as part of the ongoing debate. Obama endorsed applying these new regulations to mobile data as well, saying, "There is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet."
The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. To learn more, visit GRAMMY.org/Advocacy. To get more involved, visit GRAMMY.com/Action.
Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Jackson topped Forbes' annual list of top-earning dead celebrities with $275 million, earning more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list. Elvis Presley ranked second with $60 million, John Lennon placed fifth with $17 million and Jimi Hendrix tied for 11th place with $6 million. Forbes compiled the list based on gross earnings between October 2009 and October 2010. (10/26)
UK Arts Council Announces Budget Cut Plans
Following a previous report, Arts Council England has revealed plans to implement the 30 percent cut to the UK's arts funding budget. The cuts will include a 7 percent cash cut for UK arts organizations in 2011–2012, a 15 percent cut for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014–2015 and a 50 percent reduction to the council's operating costs. (10/26)
GRAMMY Winners To Perform At World Series
GRAMMY winners Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and John Legend are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Major League Baseball's 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. Legend and Lady Antebellum will perform at games one and two in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively, and Clarkson will perform at game three on Oct. 30 in Arlington, Texas. (10/26)
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
The Week In Music: Elton Rocks Rush
The Rocket Man performs at talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding
We're guessing he didn't play anything from his album A Single Man. According to a People.com report, flamboyant rocker Elton John was the musical guest (for a cool fee of $1 million) at conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding, this one to 33-year-old Kathryn Rogers, who is reportedly a direct descendant of President John Adams. Regarding the couple's age difference, Rogers said, "I'm sometimes not able to relate to the average person my age." It would seem the 59-year-old Limbaugh is neither her age nor the average person.
Here's a concert that went to the dogs. Performance artist Laurie Anderson staged a show outside the Sydney Opera House for an audience of canine music lovers on June 5. The show took place as part of the city's Vivid Live festival, which is being co-curated by Anderson and her husband, Lou Reed, and featured music for mutts including high-pitch squeals and even sounds only dogs could hear. Anderson called the show, which was born from a conversation with cello master Yo-Yo Ma, "a highlight of my life." For man's best friend, it may have been the best dedicated music since the Singing Dogs' version of "Jingle Bells."
If you think Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle — the four-part opera based on Teutonic and Norse mythology that can run as long as 15 hours over four nights for the full cycle — carries some pretty heavy artistic heft, you'd be right…and literally right. For a new Metropolitan Opera staging over the next two years, the Met had to install 65-foot steel girders to support the 45-ton set. This might make Wagner the biggest current heavy metal act in music. The opera is set to open Sept. 27.
Coldplay's own artistic heft just got heavier...and freakier. In 2002 guitarist Jonny Buckland and frontman Chris Martin starred as a murder-solving duo in Irish rock band Ash's self-made slasher flick, appropriately titled Slashed. Unfortunately, the project was shelved, but footage has made its way into the band's new video for "Binary." Meanwhile, Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman is steering clear of axe-wielding killer ghosts to restore Scandinavian furniture with his brother Mark. Berryman's Antiques specializes in tables, seating, cabinetry, and even a Swedish bridal chest. Customers who find their purchased antiques haunted should contact Buckland and Martin immediately.
Now you can love him tender, love him mashed, or even love him au gratin. The Elvis Presley estate has teamed with Hasbro and PPW Toys to launch an Elvis version of the classic Mr. Potato Head toy. The first release will be a Las Vegas jumpsuited Elvis, scheduled to debut during Elvis Week in Memphis, Tenn., in August, and will be followed by a leather-clad Elvis spud. The Elvis potato follows a Kiss version released last year.
Bon Jovi launched an impressive 12-night, sold-out residency at London's O2 Arena on June 7, marking a return to the venue they officially launched three years ago. The GRAMMY-winning New Jersey natives also recently christened their new hometown digs, New Meadowlands Stadium, with three concerts in late May. AEG Live is predicting tickets sales for the band's current tour will eclipse their 2007–2008 Lost Highway trek, which was Billboard's highest-grossing tour in 2008. Not bad for a band Rolling Stone magazine once described as a "bad fourth-generation metal, smudgy Xerox of Quiet Riot." Jon Bon Jovi's take? He recently smirked, "Like it or not, we're one of the biggest bands in the world." No word on a JBJ Mr. Potato Head, however.
Looks like international singing sensation Susan Boyle will be making a holy trip later this year. The Roman Catholic Church says Boyle will likely perform for Pope Benedict XVI at an open-air papal Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on Sept. 16. An unidentified spokesman said negotiations are still taking place. "Likely" and "negotiations still taking place"? Could be a tour rider issue brewing…
Have the the Melvins gone commercial? The band's latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder, sold 2,809 units this past week, good enough for the bottom spot on the Billboard 200 and marking the first time the Seattle indie rock legends have placed on the album chart in their 25-plus-year career. With another 2,000 units, they would have reached the chart's upper echelon and passed the likes of Beyoncé, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Nickelback, Pink Floyd, and Timbaland. Asked for his comment on the milestone, singer/guitarist Roger "Buzz" Osborne said, "Top 200 what?"
Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, reclaimed the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, as well as the top spot on the iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.