‘Hendrix Electric Vodka’ Brand Sued By Hendrix Family; Memorial Shotgun In Shape Of Kurt Cobain’s Head Given The OK

No offense to any already-offended readers and/or members of Jimi Hendrix's family, but the main topic on my mind right now is Risk -- not the concept, but the board game. I was soundly defeated in this game of global domination not one hour ago, and the number of friends I now have has dropped from two to one: you, dear reader. What does my trouncing in this game have to do with the late guitar genius? Well, switch around the letters in Risk and you get Kisr, which is similar to Kisser, which is where Jimi Hendrix's family would like to punch the marketing department that thought up 'Hendrix Electric Vodka' and its psychedelic flavor.

Janie Hendrix, Jimi's adopted sister, called the brand "a sick joke" due to Hendrix's alcohol-related death in 1970, though Craig Dieffenbach, the businessman behind the product, is certain the lawsuit will fail because of a 2005 federal court case ruling that the Hendrix family owns the rights to neither his name nor image -- only his music. Dieffenbach also believes the proceedings will be much less hostile if everyone partakes in a few pre-trial shots of Jimi.

The vodka bottles in question are tinted purple and have Hendrix's face and signature on the label, presumably (and this is mere speculation) so that the drinker feels cordially invited to an electric ladyland of inebriation.

Squeeze Set To Reunite; Can A VHI Tour Sponsorship Be Far Off?

Let's see, there's The Police, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Van Halen, Bad Brains, Dinosaur Jr., Lifetime, Genesis (the really lame trio version, not the kinda lame Peter Gabriel version), The Dismemberment Plan, Rage Against the Machine, Crowded House, Sebadoh, The Toadies, Smashing Pumpkins, Slint, The Pogues, Smoking Popes, The Stooges, Lemonheads, Meat Puppets, and, of course, R.E.M. covering John Lennon with Bill Berry behind the kit.

Tell Winona and Janeane that their gas station favs Squeeze can now be added to that list of recently reunited rock acts. So far, the band's songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are the only members named as taking part in the reunion, which will be the first time they have played together since 1998. They must have been "Tempted" by all the money they would stand to rake in. No? What about: I guess they will be having their "Black Coffee" on tour. Worse, you say? How's this: Another reunion "F or My Heart," this sure will be "Cool For" fans, huh? If someone asked me to go to one of these shows, I would say "Take Me, I'm Yours." Getting me to go would be easier then "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)." Seriously, that is "No Myth." Oops, that last one is Michael Penn. I apologize for all that, I have a tendency to "Babylon & On." Anyway, the dates only include the U.K. right now, as Universal & Warner will be reissuing the band's music in Britain later this year. The possibility of the band taking the show to any other countries has yet to be confirmed.

The Nation Is Cleaning Up Radio with Eight “Rules of Engagement”: Does Elvis Costello Know About This?

Those of you who have not given up on radio entirely will be happy to read one of the music industry's more pleasant surprises of 2007: The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has united with Entercom, CBS Radio, Citadel, and Clear Channel to create eight voluntary "Rules of Engagement," which in theory will help cut down on scandals of the payola variety, as well as securing more airtime for independent music to be played.

Wait... independent music? As in music "not owned and controlled by a major label, and [whose] market share is not reported by a major label"? According to A2IM's Peter Gordon, as stated in an interview with FMQB, that's exactly what it means. As part of the arrangement, independent music will occupy 8,400 half-hour blocks (a 30% marketshare) to be played between 6 A.M. and midnight. Does this mean you should expect to hear your local top-40 station playing Jandek tunes between traffic and weather updates during your morning commute? Not exactly, though that would be disquietingly awesome. The new regulations will ensure that independent and local artists from all genres, including hip-hop, country, rock, and others, are represented on their respective stations.

Other facets of the agreement include stipulations that "Radio should not be allowed to sell or barter access to its music programmers," that "Radio should not exclude independent promotion companies, as a class, from gaining access to music programmers except for independent promotion companies which are compensated based upon playlist additions," and that "Radio shall not ask for or expect, either directly or indirectly, any quid pro quo to play music." Theoretically, new regulations such as these will create a level playing field on which non-major labels will be able to compete. At this point you might be asking yourself: "Wait, we have to spell this shit out? You mean these haven't been regulations all along?" To which I would say: "Brah, now is not the time." Other rules include disclosure of promotional giveaway recipients by stations and ensuring that stations are properly publicizing procedures for music submissions.

The simple fact that Clear Channel would agree to these rules without a court order instinctively makes this reporter wary of the whole arrangement, yet on the surface, things certainly appear win-win. After all, the arrangement has received enthusiastic support from numerous organizations such as the Future of Music Coalition, The National Academy of Arts & Sciences, and others. To be sure, only time will tell whether or not these new regulations will truly make a significant impact on the musical world; but hey, it's a step in the right direction.

Record Label Founder Founds Record Label Shocker: Sub Pop’s Poneman Launches “Hardly Art”

Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of Seattle's Sub Pop, home of... -- oh, you know -- has juuuuuust announced the launch of his lovely shiny new record label, Hardly Art. Despite being distributed by Sub Pop and Warner's ADA and being based in the same building as his old label, Hardly Art is a completely separate and independent entity. So what makes this one so different, Johnny-Boy? Why don't we go check the press release...

"Building on the tradition of many other record labels, Hardly Art will indeed be focused on offering quality records for people to enjoy."

...Uh-huh. Some, uh, inspiring words there, guys. Real good stuff. Records for people to enjoy? I guess I could get into that.

But what would a record label be without records? Being a seasoned professional, Poneman isn't about to fall into that trap and has an album all ready to go, from local cage fighters and artists Arthur and Yu. Their debut, In Camera, is lined up to be released June 19 and promises to be chock full of all the fuzzy poppy druggy Velvet Undergroundy pop that ze kidz are all into nowadays. Should be worth a pop.

Stunningly, In Camera promises to be divided into ten shorter sections, called "songs" or "tracks." Each of these "tracks" has been given its own title. Now, you probably think this is all a little confusing. But helpfully, Arthur and Yu provided a "list" of the "tracks" -- what they are calling a "tracklisting" -- which we are replicating in full below:

Un-American Cat Power Tours Librul, Godless Europe

Hello. Nunpuncher here. Now, you might not know this about me, but one of my many interests (aside from ten-pin bowling, medium-distance running, and putting crisp packets into the oven so they shrink and make really cool keyrings) is the art of dedicatory literature -- or, as so many call it with barely-concealed scorn, "fan-fiction."

My work has not gone uncelebrated in certain circles -- The Newsom Cycle, in which the harpist is seduced by a beguiling young man with a mysterious past from northern England, was much cherished by those in the community, described as "a soaring epic" by SeXiBoi99 and "without parallel" by xJoannaxLoverx. I am not afraid to court controversy -- alt.spektor.yes.yes.yes was in uproar for weeks after Regina In Love almost paired the singer with Dave Berman, of all people (before she was seduced by a beguiling young man with a mysterious past from northern England).

Without further ado, I would like to present to you a short extract from my latest work, entitled Cat Power Goes Wild In Europe. The full story, weighing in at 253 pages, will be available soon at www.sexycatpowerfantasy.com.

Cat Power Goes Wild In Europe (extract)

Chan Marshall sat in her studio, tired and slightly sweaty from the New York Summer. "Oh, Boy, I'm tired (and slightly sweaty)," she said, flicking her fringe from her slightly sweaty forehead. "Working on the follow-up to The Greatest is much harder work than I thought. I'm stuck!"

Her thoughts drifted back to that summer, that wonderful summer two years ago with that beguiling young man with a mysterious past, who taught her so much about the art of love. She thought of his lips. Without thinking, her fingers moved down her slightly sweaty body to her

[snip - Ed.]

"Ah, that's much better," Chan said. "The memory of the beguiling young man with a mysterious past has inspired me!" She picked up a guitar and wrote a really good song and called it Nunpuncher, because that was the name of the young man (with the mysterious past).

Just then, there was a knock on the door. She answered, and on the other side of it was a mysterious young man. "Delivery for -- Chan?!" he said, his blue-green eyes blazing with the memory of that summer two years ago (because he was Nunpuncher). Chan fell into his arms. "Oh, Nunpuncher!" she said, falling into his arms. "I was just remembering that wonderful summer we shared two years ago, before you went away to cure diseases and fight crime in Africa!" Without thinking, they

[snip - Ed.]

Later on, wrapped in silk sheets, their slightly sweaty bodies engtangled, Nunpuncher asked what plans Chan had.

"I'm touring Europe, with the Dirty Delta Blues Band," she said. "Here are the dates:"

Then they had sex for like ten hours.

Rhymesayers Entertainment Joins Warner Music Group’s ADA

According to Billboard, Rhymesayers Entertainment, the Minneapolis-based hip-hop label that's released albums by Atmosphere, MF Doom, Eyedea & Abilities, Soul Position, and many more, has inked a deal with Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. Ditching distributor Navarre Corp., Rhymesayers will now have its catalog distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), WMG's "indie" distributor.

"If we have someone who wants to be on a major label, we can, in fact, do that," said co-founder Brent "Siddiq" Sayers to Billboard. "But if we have someone, like Atmosphere, who does not want to do that, we can keep doing what we're doing and bring in some select [promotional/marketing] services."

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the independent label has hooked up with a major for distribution. Nearly all the indie mainstays have major label distribution deals. Other labels that have distribution deals with ADA include Matador, Merge, Secretly Canadian, Touch and Go, Thrill Jockey, Sub Pop, Barsuk, and Domino. Other indie distros include Caroline (EMI), RED (Sony), and Fontana (Universal).

Majors count sales of indie titles through their distribution companies as part of the company's overall sales, which is why some indies argue that majors don't quite own as large a pie of overall music consumption as they make it seem. If you can figure out the logistics of erecting a good, profitable way for indies to get widespread distribution without a major music group's support, you should e-mail me the details so I can get rich off it.

  

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