Paul Hewson a.k.a. Bono Vox off of U2 has recently been awarded one of the highest cultural honours available in France. This was in recognition of his services to music and committment to humanitarian aid. he was given the honour; Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris. He dedicated the award to his band, saying, ‘I’ve got the biggest mouth and the loudest voice but the music we make comes from each other’. The award was first presented in 1957 and has been awarded to other musicians including; Bob Dylan (1990), David Bowie (1999) and Patti Smith (2005). Two James Bond actors Sean Connery (1987) and Roger Moore (2008). Donald Sutherland, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Audrey Hepburn are also in that exclusive club along with writers T.S. Eliot and Julian Barnes.
While we are talking about awards it has been announced that the BMI, the music rights organisation, will present a special icon award for his contribution to music to one-time enfant terrible of the UK tabloids John Lydon formerly Johnny Rotten. Lydon will receive the award in October this year. Since those ‘The Filth And The Fury’ headlines from 1976 when Lydon was known as Rotten and fronted the Sex Pistols he has achieved bigger musical success albeit with a little less notoriety with Public Image Limited (PiL). perhaps in a step away from the rather typecast image that the British press have of him he has also appeared on the UK reality TV show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ on ITV in January 2004 and later fronted a few wildlife programmes. He is currently touring with PiL and recently took to the stage at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury with the band. So it now remains for me to congratulate Hewson and Lydon on their awards. For me the Lydon award is more appropriate and at least neither is some poxy award from our blood sucking UK royal family!
Just a few morsels of news for you with this post, ok for a couple of these ‘news’ might be stretching it and ‘olds’ might be a more apt description. Especially this first one. Many of you will have no doubt heard of Rebecca Black. She is the young lady who recently released what many consider to be one of the worst songs and worst videos ever. There has been an awful lot of nasty, vicious, vitriolic comment about her song. So other than saying I really don’t think the song or video are very good I will try not to add to what has already been said. The key thing that concerns me about this sad affair is that the poor girl recorded the song for a vanity music label; the Ark Music Factory. So now everyone can be a singer, just pay a few grand, or indeed get your parents to stump up the cash and you will get a song, a guest rapper, a vocoder and a naff video. sounds great doesn’t it? But surely you need talent as well? But in these days of X Factor and Idol that probably isn’t the case. Now that in my opinion is a really sad state of affairs. the one saving grace for Rebecca (apart from the millions of YouTube hits) is that the proceeds from any sales of her song “Friday” will go towards the earthquake relief in Japan. judge for yourself, if you haven’t already, by watching the video below. I would also love to hear your opinions on vanity record labels.
The BBC reported today that David Byrne off of the Talking Heads has settled his case against former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist after the politician used the Talking Heads song “Road To Nowhere” to attack his opponent in the race for the senate. personally I am really pleased that Byrne took Crist on. What do you think? Read the story on the Beeb by clicking here.
It has now been confirmed that U2 have achieved the highest grossing tour ever with their 360° tour which began back in 2009. They still have 20 dates to go too, but they have already grossed $558 million. That even allows for missing a few dates, including Glasto last year, due to Mr Hewson’s back problems. Are they really worth it?
Richard Rich and Max Tannone have put together a brilliant free EP based on mixing hip hop sounds with the soundtrack to Duncan Jones (son of David Robert Jones) excellent movie ‘Moon’. Click here to download all the tracks. It’s called the Selene Project and has nothing to do with song strangler Celine Dion, it’s spelled very differently people!
Finally I was honoured to accompany the delectable Catwoman (aka Catherine Lee, my fiancée) to the studios of Radio York on Saturday where live on air she reviewed the newspapers. Once again she did an excellent job, you can still hear the show for three more days by clicking on Radio York’s Julia Booth’s page here. You can also check out the website for her excellent Virtual Assistant company, Kaleidoscope Business Services by clicking here and she would also love you to comment on her rather spiffing series of blogs.
So here we are on another UK Public Holiday weekend and guess what? It’s raining. Someone once said to me that there is an easy way to tell when it’s summer in the UK. Do you know how? Well it’s quite simple really, the rain is warm! So here I am stuck indoors so I thought I’d put together a slightly random post that captures a lot of the stuff I have been meaning to blog about for a while, so here goes.
Firstly way back on the 13th May I finally got to see my son Luke play a gig with his band Steal The Smile. They were the second band on that night in the FaceBar at Reading. The band on before them were, and I’m being nice here, in need of an awful lot more practice. Apologies to the bands that followed, but we left for some scoff at TGI Fridays! Steal The Smile played a great six song set which included some of their older and newer stuff along with the obligatory Blink 182 cover. I can tell you that all the boys in the band are looking forward to seeing Blink at the Reading Festival in August. It was a real pity that Steal The Smile were once again badly let down by a promoter in that they had to hang around for three hours for a sound check that never actually materialised and by the time they played there were nowhere near as many people as there could have been. The band wasn’t paid for this gig, but I bet the promoter was! What is it with promoters, and I use the term loosely here, who simply book a venue and some bands and do bugger all else? Is it a stupid assumption that promoters ought to promote? I think not! So if there are any good promoters out there (i.e those with brain cells that at least run into double figures) then get in touch with the boys and book them! You can find them on Facebook and MySpace. Keep visiting too, as there is a revamp being lined up and possibly a lot of new stuff!
There were a couple of quite amusing moments during their set. Firstly the sound guy was trying to speak to them over the sound of the music and clearly couldn’t make himself heard. It did make me wonder how much he actually knew about sound! So finally Luke just gave the instruction “Articulate” like a rock n roll Dalek, needless to say there was still no response from Mr Sound. The other part was just before the final song when Luke said “This is the point in the show where I usually tell the audience how beautiful they are. But with a large part of the audience being my Dad it seemed a bit strange” Johnny then made a point of telling me that he thought I was beautiful, hmmmmm I worry about the drummer! Finally on Steal The Smile for now, it’s not too late to get hold of an exclusive free song from them, just click here for a previous post of mine to get your mitts on it!
Next up Glastonbury has lost U2 this year thanks to Mr Hewson’s back problems, which were apparently quite serious. Anyway there is a little silver lining in that their replacement will be the Gorillaz. In their current incarnation the Gorillaz contain not one, but two, former members of the best band ever; the Clash! yes Mick Jones and Paul Simonon are both in the touring band and bizarrely wearing sailors hats as part of the new album Plastic Beach’s nautical theme. I think I may have to get a hold of some tickets for their tour later this year. Read the BBC article on the revised Glasto line up here. Below you can watch the video for the first single from Plastic Beach, it’s called “Stylo” and features Damon Albarn, Mos Def and Bobby Womack
On May 24th there was the news of the tragic death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray aged just 38. I have taken some stick from many Slipknot fans in the past for using an incorrect picture of them without masks, but whilst that has been a bit of fun and banter I am sure all fans of the band are pretty upset and hurt by his death. To lose a music hero is not pleasant, I know how I felt on hearing about the death of John Lennon, Bob Marley and Joe Strummer. So my sympathies go to Paul Gray’s friends and family and to all Slipknot fans around the world. In his memory here are the band with the video for “Psychosocial”
Yesterday saw the sad news that Gary Coleman the diminutive star of the US sitcom ‘Diffr’nt Strokes has died. He had kidney problems all his life which meant he never grew above 4 feet 8 inches. His most famous catch phrase from the show was “What you talking about Willis?” Willis being his older brother in the show. Hed was clearly popular in the music fraternity too as the testimonials on the NME report of his death show. Kind words from Blink 182, Janet Jackson and Katy Perry
And finally for this post, have you seen the new Miike Snow video, for his song ‘The Rabbit’? It’s really strange. It has a bearded kid and a re-enactment of a 2 Live Crew album cover. Click here to see it. Let me know what you think of it