Times are tough these days, what with the seemingly never-ending recession and all! Even worse? Our national fiscal crisis hasn’t just affected those of us living on Main Street; now it’s creeping its way into the bank accounts of music royalty.
Take Slash, for example. After successful stints with Slash’s Snake Pit and Velvet Revolver, not to mention the ungodly sum of licensing revenue he must’ve racked up over the years from his appearance on the Guns N’ Roses pinball machine, one would think that he’d be pretty well set these days. Well, sadly, it seems as if Slash needs cash. He recently put a bunch of his personal belongings up for sale at auction, and our buddies over at VH1 News got a chance to tour his kick ass collection of studded tophats and coffee tables bequeathed to him by Charlie Sheen (no joke!). Follow along for video.
Femme Fatale, the seventh studio album from Britney Spears, hits stores today, and the (generally positive) reviews are in, quick to pre-emptively defend Spears against pop haters. “For years, critics have dismissed her as a cipher with a wisp of a voice,” Jody Rosen writes in his four (of five) star review for Rolling Stone before dismantling that strawman in his praise. In the Los Angeles Times, Carl Wilson suggests that “Spears is free to rise above persona games altogether,” while at the same time remaining “dumbfoundingly adept at withholding straight answers about her own feelings or identity.”
In other words, she’s a pop icon – ??maybe the last one standing! Spears’s persona-of-no-persona is hard to be critical about, because there’s no there there. But in the New York Times, Jon Caramanica comes closest:
Nicki Minaj fans have been buzzing about a particular segment of her set supporting Lil Wayne on the “I Am Still Music Tour” since it kicked off less than two weeks ago in Providence, RI: an interlude in which a male fan is brought onstage and, as her verse from Sean Kingston’s“Letting Go (Dutty Love)” plays, given a “lap dance” of sorts by Ms. Young Money. Minaj claims, in introducing the segment, that this is her way of responding to fans who say she gives too much love to her Barbies and not enough to her male fans. (Clearly the type and nature of that love is gender-distinct.)
On Sunday night at the Nassau Coliseum, the setpiece played out in the usual fashion, with one crucial difference: the “lucky fan” was none other than Lil Wayne himself.
If you guessed any of the above, sadly, you would be wrong. Despite his image as a hard drinking, hard partying rap star turned rock ‘n’ roller, Kid Rock’s most successful single to date is his lovelorn duet with Sheryl Crow, “Picture.” The song, which was initially released to radio stations in late 2002 with vocals from Alison Moorer — legend has it that Sheryl Crow’s management was not thrilled that she decided to record a track with the man born Robert James Ritchie until the Moorer version started climbing the charts — was a huge crossover smash, charting at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and logging 33 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, before becoming a staple of karaoke bars across the country.
In the wake of the disaster that struck Japan some twelve days ago, some musicians made the difficult decision to postpone previously planned tours to the island nation until the situation over there became more stable. Not Ne-Yo, though! He’s been over in Japan for well over a week now, performing in front of thousands of thrilled fans and helping to restore a sense of normalcy to the tragedy-ridden country. Well, our own VH1 News correspondent Janell Snowden was able to speak with Ne-Yo exclusively earlier today via Skype. We’ll be bringing you select clips from that interview very soon, but for now, here’s a quick summary of what they discussed:
While the fact that Ne-Yo has a four month-old daughter initially gave him pause about going to Japan during such a tumultuous time, he ultimately felt like he had her blessing. As he explained to us, if she could talk, she would’ve told him to solider on.
One of the many perks of working here at VH1 is that there always seems to be incredible musicians and gorgeous celebrities roaming the hallways here in Times Square. Take You Oughta Know artist and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, for example. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a short set from the breakout stars of the most recent VH1 Divas show, right here in our lobby. They played an intimate yet rocking three song set, including their big single “Paris (Ooh La La)” and this smokin’ cover of Jefferson Airplane’s trippy, late sixties psychadelic anthem, “White Rabbit.”
The band first performed this song for last year’s Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. As you’ll see, Grace Potter delivers her vocals with the same sort of passion and intensity that Grace Slick did way back in the Summer of Love. Rather than keep this awesomeness all to ourselves, we figured we’d share this entire You Oughta Know Live performance with you guys, too. Enjoy!
Before the plane lifted off for a flight back to NYC from Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival, the airline attendant joked via loudspeaker: “You all look so hip and cool.” Some passengers laughed, but probably no one disagreed. How could a flight with members of TV on the Radio be anything else? In fact,the packed plane felt like a microcosm of the festival itself, where thousands of bands, industry executives, celebrities and music fans worked and played for five days at parties in clubs, bars and makeshift venues like parking garages.
We have more details on Hanson’s SXSW benefit for Japan. There’s no live concert element to the show that fans can attend — it’s a live-streaming telethon only. Hanson has taken over a studio in downtown Austin at the SXSW music fest, inviting musicians to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami by either performing or stopping by for a chat from noon on Saturday (March 17) through noon on Sunday (March 18).
Among those participating are Michael Stipe of R.E.M., John “JoJo” Hermann of Widespread Panic, the North Mississippi Allstars, The Boxer Rebellion, AWOLNATION, Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. and many others. Hanson will perform multiple times throughout the telethon. An album of performances from the telethon will be available for download at iTunes. Donate at SXSW4Japan.org, proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
We ran into two-thirds of Hanson at Rachael Ray’s SXSW party this afternoon, and brothers Isaac and Taylor were making a serious effort to get the word out about teaming up with the music fest for a last-minut, massive benefit concert for Japan. Details are scarce at the moment — there’s not even a press release out yet. But the concert will start tomorrow (Saturday, March 18) at noon and will run a whopping 12 hours. It will also stream live for the entire show. Isaac says an album of the concert will also be available for download from iTunes. There are more than 2,000 acts at SXSW this year, so it’s the perfect opportunity to pull off a “We Are the World”-style benefit.
Update: Hanson.net is reporting that Widespread Panic, the Boxer Rebellion, Ben Folds and the Courtyard Hounds were the first to sign on. The stream will include live and pre-recorded performances as well as messages from musicians. Watch and donate at SXSW4Japan.
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