In an unprecedentedly trashy business move, Interscope Geffen A&M (Time Warner BMG Nabisco CIA) announced this week that it will team up with Drinks Americas Holdings to produce a line of drinks branded with the name of a hot new Interscope artist. Together, the two unfortunately-named companies will develop concepts and marketing approaches -- though based on my suggestions in the headline, they could really cut their work in half by hiring me.
Drinks Americas Holdings already has a long and storied history in the field of novelty beverages: Donald Trump Super Premium Vodka and Willie Nelson's Old Whiskey River Bourbon didn't just appear in your pantry from nowhere, you see. According to the company (which is always a good place to go for any cold, hard facts), the liquified essence of Trump will have sold 100,000 cases by the end of its first year.
The lucky Interscope artists have not yet been revealed, but a number of possibilities have been hinted at and given the "wink wink" when asked about. Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent (try, try again!), Busta Rhymes, G-Unit, Daddy Yankee, Sheryl Crow, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Cornell, and Gwen Stefani are all viable possibilities, and it is a testament to both companies that they've chosen a list of artists that could have been developed (and would have made more sense) nearly five years ago. The fate of Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" Rum seems very uncertain and shaky. Nearly as shaky as the person who downs a whole bottle of it by themself and tears into a double-time rendition of "If It Makes You Happy."
J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas, said, "There is a large opportunity here for both companies to generate substantial incremental revenue and profits and create valuable assets." Golly, that sounds delicious! Just make sure these drinks bear no similarities to the Powerpuff Girls-themed bottle of "Belly Washers" I tried once and later heaved back out into the sink. Pay a little bit closer attention to the ingredients this time... please?
At a certain point in a band’s career, if they stick it out long enough, if they deal with the bullshit critics and the fickle kids, they’ll get a free license to be mediocre, lazy, or just plain suck every once and a while. It’s like being a good-band emeritus, a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card. Like Buddy Cianci -- we know you never stopped caring about Providence, so what’s a little assault between friends. For example, let’s consider all those albums in-between SMiLE (’66) and SMiLE (’04) taken care of. Idlewho? I’m already over it. And all those bad ’80s albums by legendary rockers. I know you couldn’t resist when the engineer said all the cool cats made their drums sound like that, so we’ll let it slide.
Then there’s these guys. Ween can afford to be bad. Why? Let’s look at the evidence.
That said, I’ve got no opinion one way or the other on their new Friends EP. I’m just saying they’ve earned a little slack. Ween say this fall they’ll release a full-length album on a “real” label, which will be a distilled version of the “well over 50 or 60 songs” they recently laid out at their 24-track, 2-inch tape-equipped farmhouse. This one’s on Chocodog:
Guitar Center Inc. Goes Private, Tools of Musical Rebellion Now to be Sold Exclusively by The Man, Bob Dylan Outraged, Jakob Dylan a Hack
Know how you HATE going into Guitar Center because you can’t pick up a goddamned thing without the ponytailed, tatted-up floor-rep who’s “only doing this as a day-job while his band looks for a new drummer so they can finish their demo in their other guitarist’s friend’s dad’s home-studio and send it to their bassist’s dad’s cousin’s boss because he works in A&R?” locking onto you like a fuckin’ heat-seeker (a rather carbuncular heat-seeker, mind you) and trying like Rocky Balboa to stick you with the biggest, most expensive sale that he possibly can??
Welp, Private Equity Firm Bain Capital Partners LLC must have made one scraggly salesman into the happiest Metallica fan since The Black Album when it waltzed into the mammoth maze of Marshal Amps and announced, amid the din of choppy, awkward “Brainstew” and “Come as You Are” riffs, that they’d take... EVERYTHING!
Yes, much to the surprise of... well... I don’t know who... business nerds who actually keep track of this kind of shit, I guess... anyway, much to the surprise of SOMEONE SOMEWHERE, the private firm purchased the entire musical instrument empire, known professionally as Guitar Center Inc., for roughly $1.9 billion plus assumed debt earlier last week (that debt presumably refers to all of those financed Flying V’s, China Cymbals, and Line 6 Amplifiers that haven’t been paid off yet). The total value of the transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is approximately $2.1 billion, which the company will promptly put on its dad and step-mom’s MasterCard as soon as they provide Guitar Center with a phone number and zip code.
Under the terms of this deal (don’t worry; they have deals EVERY weekend), Guitar Center stockholders will receive $63 in cash per share, marking a 26% premium over its closing price this past Tuesday. Guitar Center shares were up 18.8% or $9.44 at $59.50 on the NASDAQ after hitting a high of $60.35 earlier in the session...
HUH? WHA? Uh... oh yeah, and according to Billboard.com, as of March 31, the company had 30.17 million diluted shares outstanding, as reported in its first-quarter earnings report. In May, there was some talk ‘round the financial schoolyard that Guitar Center was exploring a possible sale. Once they realized they couldn’t sell to themselves because of the shitty deal they’d probably get on the trade-in, they hired an investment bank to explore strategic alternatives.
Credit Suisse Analyst Gary Balter said the company "seems like the perfect LBO." (Shhh! No dude, I don’t know what that means either. Just act cool...) "They have a dominant retail position in a high service business yet significantly under-earn other high service oriented retail segments," Balter wrote in a research note following Guitar Center's announcement.
Balter also added he would not be surprised if the company's Music & Arts division, specializing in band instruments for teachers, band directors, and students, is sold after the current deal is closed. But then again, one wonders if a man whose job is “Credit Suisse Analyst” is ever really surprised by anything.
But enough talk, kids. What does this all mean for YOU, the Guitar Center Consumer/St. Anger Enthusiast? Well, don’t worry, you’ll still hear all of those sweet radio ads, and you’ll still be able to get hustled into purchasing all of the kick-dick gear you need to get that gig opening for Finger 11. Sure, the music store might be privately owned by “The Man” now, but Rock ‘n’ Roll can NEVER DIE.
Hey, Hey. My, my.
Texas' best sextet Okkervil River are back and going on tour this September in support of their fourth full-length release, The Stage Names, due August 7 on Jagjaguwar. The album was recorded in Austin with co-producer Brian Beattie, mixed by Jim Eno of Spoon at his studio Public Hi-Fi, and will be the first we've heard of Okkervil River since 2005's Black Sheep Boy.
The band will be turning 10 next year, and you're all invited to their birthday party. <3
The Stage Names tracklisting:
1. Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
2. Unless It's Kicks
3. A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene
4. Savannah Smiles
5. Plus Ones
6. A Girl in Port
7. You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man
8. Title Track
9. John Allyn Smith Sails
07.14.07 - Concord, NH - Capitol Center for the Arts *
09.03.07 - Casbah, San Diego, CA
09.04.07 - Troubadour, Los Angeles, LA
09.05.07 - Independent, San Francisco, CA
09.08.07 - Berbati's Pan (MusicFest NW), Portland, OR
09.09.07 - Richard's on Richards, Vancouver, British Columbia
09.10.07 - Neumos, Seattle, WA
09.13.07 - Marquee Theater, Denver, CO
09.14.07 - Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
09.15.07 - Picador, Iowa City, IA
09.18.07 - Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago, IL
09.19.07 - The Canopy Club (Pygmalion Festival), Urbana, IL
09.24.07 - Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
09.25.07 - Middle East, Boston, MA
09.26.07 - Iron Horse, Northampton, MA
09.28.07 - Webster Hall, New York, NY
09.29.07 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA
09.30.07 - Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
10.02.07 - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
10.03.07 - 40 Watt, Athens, GA
10.06.07 - Walter's on Washington, Houston, TX
* Lando + Ron Noyes
All other dates with Damien Jurado
English electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys have finally crossed over into Stateside success and have charted at number 2 on the Hot 100 chart, riding the wave of their smash hit "Party Like a Rockstar." After 25 years of international acclaim but almost universal snubbing in the red, white, and blue spotlight, the seminal disco-dance group have struck gold with their raucous chorus and deadpan lyrics, "Party like a rockstar! (t-t-t-totally dude!)," accompanying somewhat of a musical paradigm shift. "Me and my band, man, on the yacht with Marilyn Manson. Gettin' a tan man," sings Neil Tennant in a cadence we've yet to hear on any of the band's nearly 30 albums.
...Wait, what? "Party Like A Rockstar" is the Shop Boyz?! Goddamn it!! Does a "z" really create a loophole in copyright law?
So, turns out U.S. audiences still don't give a shit, but the aged synth masters are still releasing a new DVD through Rhino entitled Pet Shop Boys: Cubism In Concert. I'm not quite sure what that means, but the disc takes concert footage from a November 14, 2006 show, live from Mexico City's Auditorio Nacional. If only for "West End Girls," the DVD is a must-have for all PSB completists, even if the band didn't get to open last week's BET Awards Live from the red carpet like their moniker-misappropriating counterparts. The DVD also contains commentary, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Don't they all?
"Trippin' with the Osbournes / I seen the show with Travis Barker":
Pet Shop Boys: Cubism In Concert:
Boredoms Team Up With Prurient, Release Cover Of Weezer’s “Tired Of Sex,” Wake Up From Nightmare, Tour
In accordance with the spirit of the free "77 Drummers" performance going on in Brooklyn on 07.07.07, along with the addition of a smattering of shows surrounding that date, we at TMT would like to highlight the 77 things in life that are more important (only slightly) than seeing Boredoms in concert at least once.
Seeing Boredoms in concert is only marginally less important than getting your doctorate, paying child support, returning mail to the post office that wasn't addressed to you, keeping a healthy diet, brushing your teeth after every meal, getting your cavities filled, seeing a doctor about your heart palpitations, running away from a group of skinheads holding guns, balancing your checkbook, saying you're sorry for euthanizing your friend's dog, letting your cat out of the cold garage, buying a return ticket for your trip to Oslo, keeping your social security number out of the hands of your convict ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, rearranging all your books in alphabetical order by genre, throwing out the trash to make the fruit flies in your kitchen travel elsewhere, keeping your margins justified when writing term papers on Edmund Burke, thinking of a good word that rhymes with zeitgeist, force-feeding a loved one Fig Newtons to keep them from telling you something important, watching the airline stewardess pretend to blow into the orange tubes in her floatation device, and printing your own money just to have a heaping pile of benjamins resting on the floor next to your bed.
As you can see, there aren't many events more important than seeing Boredoms. The only things more important to spend your money on are swing sets, saltwater taffy, charred laptop hard drives, not-overly-spotted-brown bananas, porkchops, swimming pools filled with foam squares, two-liter bottles filled with water that form tornados when swirled, functional Snoopy-shaped light switches, love letters written on bamboo paper, preschool macaroni art, expensive Super Nintendo cleaning kits, ripped book dust jackets, fuzzy hanging dice in cars, bellybutton lint of various colors, sweaty slices of cheddar cheese, computers that sing "Daisy Bell," the complete works of John Stuart Mill, waterlogged vacuum cleaners, hand-buzzers, and unintelligible vanity license plates.
Boredoms are important people, let's not forget. So important, in fact, that the only people more important to meet on Earth are Marc Bolan, Joseph Stalin, Ivan Turgenev, Baby Huey, Bo Jackson, Dave Thomas, McGee (of McGee and Me fame), Artie (strongest man in the world), Scott Stapp, Djuna Barnes, Heathcliff, Valentina Tereshkova (first woman in space), Lucille Bogan, James M. Kilts (CEO of Gillette), Matt Weir, Gustave Flaubert, ? (of ? and the Mysterians fame), Laurence Fishburne, Charles Mingus, Shrek, Mobb Deep, Grimace, Bo Jackson (this time playing a different sport), Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Rodion Raskolnikov, Tipper Gore, Chris Benoit, Randy Newman, Boba Fett, Michael Ian Black, Aristotle, James Naismith, Bud Cort, Crazy Frog, Leslie Keffer, and your own mother.
Setting aside these trifling 77 instances, seeing Boredoms in concert is the most important thing you can do. Ever.
Bill Callahan to Tour, Me to be Unnecessarily Vague to Mask Actual Respect and Appreciation, Parody Bible
BILL CALLAHAN’S TO-DO LIST:
1. Cat Power
2. Joanna Newsom
08.10.07 – Dublin, Ireland – The Village
08.11.07 – Galway, Ireland – Roisin Dubh
08.12.07 – Belfast, Ireland - Spring & Airbrake
08.14.07 – Glasgow, Scotland – Arches
08.16.07 – London, England - Dingwall's
08.17.07 – Brecon Beacons, UK – Glanusk Park, Green Man Festival
09.07.07 – New York – Highline Ballroom
09.14.07 – Chicago, IL – Lakeshore Theater
SMOG 11:19 And the Lord God looked down on the traveler in the good and plentiful valley. Blessed art thou who goes forth in the valley of grapevines! Thou art the light of the world. Hi-fi production shall test thou in the valley, but thou shall defeat temptation and plant thy feet for love. Thou shall find fellow travelers Cat Power and Joanna Newsom in the valley, and strive to plant seeds in their gardens. Good traveler, do not be afraid when darkness befalls the valley of grapevines, for from Smog and darkness comes great light!
After two years, The Mae Shi have decided to announce a two-week tour. They'll be flying to the East Coast with their friends Yea Big and Kid Static, and they need YOU to help them book their tour! (If you can pay them $100, that is!) Really! Check it out:
As with all Mae Shi tours, we want to play
living rooms, basements, garages, office buildings and rooftops. We
want to play your birthday parties and quinceañeras and bar mitzvahs.
We are honoring our previous offer of playing your event for $100
(although some restrictions apply -- see below). So if you're
interested in hosting a Mae Shi show or can help us find a venue in
your area, contact us at [this address].
Their new album, HLLLYH, which will come out this fall on Moshi Moshi in Europe, doesn't have a U.S. release scheduled because, well, it doesn't have a label yet -- so if you know anyone who's interested, also shoot them a line about that.
Playing your basement, office building, garage, rooftop, or birthday party this summer:
07.31.07 - TBA - Anywhere between Chicago and Washington D.C. ^
08.01.07 - Punk Rock Hotel, Washington, D.C. ^*
08.02.07 - Silent Barn, NYC ^*&
08.03.07 - TBA, Anywhere within 250 miles of NYC ^
08.04.07 - TBA, Anywhere within 250 miles of NYC ^
08.05.07 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA ^
08.06.07 - TBA ^
08.07.07 - TBA ^
08.08.07 - TBA ^
08.09.07 - TBA, Anywhere within 300 miles of Chicago ^
08.10.07 - Av-aerie, Chicago, IL ^
08.11.07 - TBA ^
08.12.07 - TBA ^
^ Yea Big + Kid Static
"I don't even really consider Summerfest to be a music festival," were my friend Elliot's words today when describing the world's largest music festival — now in its 40th year — which opened last night in Milwaukee, WI and runs through July 8.
The vision of Summerfest, purportedly to revitalize the Milwaukee downtown and unite the community, at least serves to draw out much of Wisconsin's riff-raff, usually content with dairy consumption, for a week or so of increased beer drinking, cigarette chain-smoking, and marijuana use along the rocks lining the Lake Michigan shore/Summerfest grounds.
To be certain, music can be heard. The festival includes year-in, year-out, washed-up mainstays Styx, Weird Al Yankovic, Finger Eleven, Reel Big Fish, Rusted Root, Collective Soul, Peter Frampton, and comedian Lewis Black.
Summerfest also presents the impossible task of choosing between Umphrey's McGee, Bob Weir & RatDog, and Keller Williams, all of whom play on July 5, at least for the likely doped-up, dreaded-out, noodle-dancing attendees.
Other headlining, national touring acts include O.A.R., Silversun Pickups, Shiny Toy Guns, Wolfmother, Sugarland, Blue Oyster Cult, Sum 41, Fuel, Goo Goo Dolls, Rise Against, Slaughter, Lindsay Buckingham, Lifehouse, Sister Hazel, Big & Rich, George Thorogood, Saliva, King Solomon, Heart, Social Distortion, Femi Kuti, The Wailers, Jackyl, Buddy Guy, A.F.I., WAR, Randy Travis, The Black Crowes, Plain White T's, Less Than Jake, Asia, Arrested Development, Local H, Los Lonely Boys, B.B. King, Sevendust, Augustana, Chevelle, Dashboard Confessional, Hellyeah!, Cowboy Mouth, Live, Papa Roach, Guster, Old 97s, Son Volt, Lupe Fiasco, G. Love & Special Sauce, INXS, and Brain McKnight. I know, I know — stop me when I mention something you like, something that was moderately cool to your kid sister years ago. The entire schedule can be viewed here.
Offering the slightest bit of redemption value or what may be of interest to Tiny Mix Tapes readers are Built To Spill and Spoon.
Rounding out the festival are a slew of local Wisconsin acts including, but not limited to, The LoveMonkeys, Pat McCurdy, Willy Porter Band, and Speakeasy, featuring the Iron Mike Dison on trombone, one of my middle school assistant band directors, who I could tell you a seedy tale or two about.
Admission will run you $15 if you're an adult (over 10 years old) attending the fest after 4 PM. It'll cost a mere $8 if you enter the festival grounds prior to 4 PM on a weekday, but I'd advise strongly against it. Then again, if you're hell-bent on seeing Spoon, staking out spots several hours before their set could guarantee better "seats" — everyone stands on the rows of metal, bleacher seats, all of which sit on a level surface -- no theater or stadium seating here, so no un-obstructed views either.
For that kind of luxury seating you can pay mega bucks to see Def Leppard w/ Foreigner and Styx; The Fray w/ OK Go, Ludacris w/ Chris Brown, Ciara, and T-Pain; Roger Waters; John Mayer w/ Ben Folds; Tool; Bon Jovi; Daughtry; Panic at the Disco! w/ Gym Class Heroes; or Toby Keith w/ Miranda Lambert, and Flynnville, who play the Marcus Amphitheater on successive dates, each show requiring its own individually purchased, full-priced ticket, as well as the normal admission into the festival grounds.
What I'm getting at here, and I apologize for burying my lead at the end of the story, is that the world's largest music festival is potentially also the world's most expensive and may not even be worth attending. Unless you really like Miller Lite.
Weezer is back in the studio, and I’m stuck wondering how long my series of Dada-influenced stories will last before I’m eventually fired from a volunteer position.
My friend, Ryan, told me, over beers (lots of beers), that the last two Weezer albums weren’t very good because Rivers realized he could make a lot more money releasing highly accessible pop versus songs about infant Japanese girls. Infant Japanese girls, however, have been having J-Pop shoved down their throats by parents.
Soooo, Weezer’s accessible pop has been interfering with the natural process by which young children’s ears mature and develop. By the age of 13, a youngster’s eardrums are strong and able! They can handle the intense vibrations and discern highly inventive tunes from the throbbing immaculate, diamond–studded cut of Chris Benoit’s legacy.
The Canadian Crippler crippled his ties with Weezer last week when he did away with his life and wife. But that hasn’t kept Rivers from preaching the good times. Early '08 is the projected date for the good word.
Rivers and Co. may be coming to your town, so if you ladies out there have a free night to get crazy with the “Blue Boys” and watch [Vera Drake] on the big screen in their giant pink and purple Streamliner tour van, but NO HANKY-PANKY! So you girls who want to get drunk and humped will have to find some cute Harvard alumni.
But in all seriousness, the main point of this essay is not to talk about Rivers and his battle with abstinence, but that the good ol’ boys are back in the studio starting July. Really, that is all I wanted to say. I’m not sure how we started talking about Chris Benoit or young Japanese girls. I mean, it’s true those topics couldn’t be avoided, but I just want to make clear that Weezer is releasing a new album sometime in the early of 2008. Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.