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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…
Oh, If Only That Were True—Instead, Here’s Another Music Roundup

SILENCE IS PUFFY
A Superior Court judge overseeing the weapons trial of Sean "Puffy" Combs, rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow and bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones has slapped all parties involved in the case with a gag order, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office said. During a pretrial hearing Friday (1/5), Judge Charles Solomon said that they participants were prohibited from discussing particulars of the case outside the court. The judge also pushed the trial date back, ordering jury selection to begin 1/17, rather than today (1/8), as previously scheduled. Combs, Barrow and Jones were arrested following the shooting of three people at Club New York in December 1999, and all three face weapons possession charges, while Shyne faces additional charges of attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment. Combs has additionally been charged with bribery for allegedly attempting to get his driver to take responsibility for the handgun that authorities found in the vehicle. No word if charges will be brought against the DA's office for ignoring the gag order by telling the press about the gag order.

WILL ALL THE ATTENDEES BE WEARING BEARDS?
Longtime proud Texans ZZ Top will be on the bill celebrating George W. Bush's inauguration at "The Best Little Ball In DC," slated to go down on 1/18 in the nation's capital. Over a thousand guests at the sold-out private event will enjoy a set from the band, which hasn't performed live since singer-bassist Dusty Hill was diagnosed with hepatitis C last year. The band was recognized as "Official Texas Heroes" by the state's House of Representatives in 1986 and was named "Ambassadors of Goodwill of the State of Texas" in 1991 by then-Governor Ann Richards. Bush did his part recognizing the famously bearded group on May 15, 1997, by declaring that day "ZZ Top Day" in Texas. Bush himself will join the band onstage for "Tube Snake Boogie" after huffing a gram of Bolivian flake off a stripper's ass.

HE WISHES HE WAS ONLY JOKING
Veteran rocker Rod Stewart told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday (which is what "am Sonntag" means!) that he planned to cut back on the carousing. "I don't think I can take it any more," the 55-year-old rocker said. "The wild times are over for me. I'm husbanding my resources a lot more." Despite curtailing his wild ways, Stewart still insisted he hadn't lost his sex appeal. "I'm still very presentable, but I just can't keep up with Mick [Jagger]," he said. "At least I get more birds than Charlie Watts. That would be really depressing if I couldn't at least do that."

THE QUESTIONS ARE GERMANE
Jermaine Jackson dropped by the studios of Sirius Satellite Radio to tell host Holly Levis that the Jackson Five was set to record and tour in 2001, according to the New York Post. "We're in the studio working very hard on a new J5 album that will be released this summer," Jackson told Levis. "We're going to do a new tour. We're very, very excited." Jackson said the new CD and tour would "absolutely" include Michael, his younger brother and the de facto King of Pop. "I don't think he'd joke about something like this," added rapper  and longtime friend MC Lyte, who accompanied Jackson to the studio. "I mean, what possible reason would Jermaine Jackson have for making up a story like this? Other than a cheap way to see his name in the papers for the first time in years."

BEHOLD! THE KING APPROACHES!
After being scheduled for September, then November, Michael Jackson's comeback album has now been pushed back to March. According to the New York Post, Jacko has reportedly recorded more than 50 songs for the hotly anticipated release, produced by such top-name (and top-dollar) producers as Rodney Jerkins and David Foster. But according to Howard Rubenstein, Jackson's spokesman, the delay isn't any cause for alarm. "Michael is a perfectionist and wants the album to be excellent," Rubenstein told the Post. "The album is coming along fine and is not in trouble... Everyone is very excited and happy so far. The first single has not yet been chosen, but that in no way indicates a problem. I repeat: There is absolutely... postively... bzzzzz... krakkkk...danger... restart spokesman software? Y/N."

BLACKOUT TUESDAY: HOW THE MAJORS RESPONDED
(6/5a)
HARLESTON, HABTEMARIAM LAUNCH UMG TASK FORCE
(6/5a)
SONY MUSIC SETS UP $100M FUND
(6/5a)
10K OPENS FUND TO AID BLACK YOUTH
(6/5a)
BLACK MUSIC MONTH: THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED
(6/5a)
WHAT NEXT?
The biz ponders action after some reflection.
GRAMMY SPECULATION
100% guaranteed to be somewhat accurate, probably.
BLACK MUSIC MONTH
...continues.
TRUMP'S IN THE BUNKER
Just to inspect it, though.
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