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MUSIC ROUND-UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Johnson, Wagner and Pearl Jam In The House
PIONEERING
The Rhythm & Blues Foundation is honoring the first rock and roll hero. Pianist Johnnie Johnson will receive the foundation's Pioneer Award at a ceremony Sept. 6 at the Manhattan Center in New York. Johnson has performed with other pioneers including Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, but is best known for his 30-year gig as pianist and bandleader for Chuck Berry, providing inspiration for the classic "Johnny B. Goode." Johnson maintains he had no involvement with the 1988 Anthony Michael Hall vehicle, "Johnny Be Good."

DECLINE AND PARSIFAL
The Richard Wagner Festival in Beyreuth, Germany has become the Woodstock '99 of the opera world. Opera star Hans Sotin walked out the day before he was set to open as Gurnemanz in ``Parsifal." The legendary bass told the Nordbayerischer Kurier newspaper he quit due to "irreconcilable differences'' with the director. Sources said Sotin was upset to find brown M&Ms in his candy bowl, breaching the terms of his rider. The 89th annual festival has been plagued with problems stemming from a dispute between Wagner's descendants. Wagner's 81-year-old grandson, Wolfgang has run the event for 50 years, but younger relatives want to modernize it by adding a body art tent and a monster truck pull. The festival runs through August 28.

JAM AFTERMATH
While Pearl Jam has been cleared of blame for last month's Roskilde tragedy in which nine fans died, Danish police say they want to question the band simply to "tie up loose ends." According to the Associated Press, Copenhagen Chief Constable Uffe Kornerup said the band was on a list of interviews left to be done and an attorney for the band was expected to talk to police Wednesday (7/26). Said Kornerup, "If we can get in touch with the band we would like to interview them, but I guarantee they cannot be held responsible for anything according to Danish law."

The band responded with the following statement: "We feel that we are 'morally responsible' to bring out the truth with regard to what happened that night. There are absolutely no words to express our anguish in regard to the parents and loved ones of the nine precious lives that were lost... We owe it to everyone who has been impacted... to identify every possible factor that might have contributed to these tragedies."

The group went on to list several factors that should be thoroughly examined in the investigation, including: The chain of command for festival security, the timeliness by the Emergency Medical Teams along with the lack of adequate and/or necessary qualified medical technicians, the poor visibility of the audience from the stage and the amount of alcohol served to concert-goers.

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