Saturday, February 16, 2008

Forbes: Madonna Richest Woman in Music

NEW YORK (AP) — Madonna is the richest woman in music. The 49-year-old entertainer leads Forbes's list of the top 20 "Cash Queens of Music," earning $72 million between June 2006 and June 2007.

The pop star's "Confessions" world tour pulled in $260 million, Forbes said. She also made money from album sales, her fashion line with H&M and a deal with NBC to broadcast her concert performance at London's Wembley Stadium.

Forbes said it compiled the list by examining concert grosses, merchandising revenue, album sales and other revenue from clothing lines, fragrance deals and endorsements.

Barbra Streisand is No. 2 with $60 million, thanks to her comeback tour of North America and Europe.

Celine Dion ranks third with $45 million, largely from her successful "A New Day" show in Las Vegas, which she wrapped up in December after a five-year engagement at Caesars Palace.

Shakira is fourth with $38 million, followed by Beyonce ($27 million), Gwen Stefani ($26 million), Christina Aguilera ($20 million), Faith Hill ($19 million), the Dixie Chicks ($18 million) and Mariah Carey ($13 million).

Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne and Martina McBride each banked $12 million.

Britney Spears ranked 14th on the list, earning $8 million from music royalties and sales of her fragrances with Elizabeth Arden.

Spears is followed by Carrie Underwood and Nelly Furtado ($7 million each); Fergie, Jennifer Lopez and Sheryl Crow ($6 million each); and Norah Jones ($5.5 million).

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Boston Rocker Tells Huckabee to Lay Off

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The chief songwriter and founder of the band Boston has more than a feeling that he's being ripped off by Mike Huckabee. In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song "More Than a Feeling" without his permission.

A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense.

Scholz, who said Goudreau left the band more than 25 years ago after a three-year stint, objects to the implication that the band and one of its members has endorsed Huckabee's candidacy.

"Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for," wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. "By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"

Fred Bramante, who was chairman of Huckabee's New Hampshire campaign, called the allegations ridiculous. He said he attended dozens of Huckabee rallies in New Hampshire and other states and never heard Huckabee play "More Than a Feeling," other than when Goudreau campaigned with him in Iowa in October.

"Governor Huckabee plays 'Sweet Home Alabama.' Does that mean Lynyrd Skynyrd is endorsing him? He plays 'Louie Louie.' Does that mean The Kingsmen are endorsing him? To me, it's ridiculous," he said. "Never once has he said, 'The band Boston endorses me.'

Scholz, in a telephone interview Friday, said he understands "More Than a Feeling" has been a centerpiece at some rallies, and said Goudreau is identified with the band in an endorsement video.

"Whenever a campaign publicly exploits a well-known song, there is some inference of support" by the band or artist, he added.

He recommends that Huckabee "stick to music recorded by far-right Republicans."

Tensions between Scholz and some of the early band members date from the early 1980s, when CBS Inc. sued the band over delays in recording new albums. The company's Epic Records label recorded the band's first two releases: "Boston," in 1976, and "Don't Look Back," in 1978.

Scholz — who wrote, engineered, and laid down nearly all the instrumental tracks on the first album — countersued for the rights to the band's name and music. Three members of the original band, including Goudreau, testified for the record company, which lost.

In his letter, Scholz referred to Huckabee as the "straight talk candidate," but that label more often is applied to Sen. John McCain, who has had his own troubles when it comes to his musical playlist. Last week, McCain's campaign agreed to stop playing John Mellencamp's songs "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" at his rallies after the liberal rocker complained.

Mellencamp had supported Democrat John Edwards, who recently dropped out of the race.

Other candidates have had better luck selecting songs. Celine Dion said she was "thrilled" that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton used her song, "You and I" as her official campaign anthem. Obama frequently blares U2's "City of Blinding Lights" at his events.

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Feist Wins 2007 Shortlist Music Prize

NEW YORK (AP) — Feist continues to win recognition from her peers, collecting four Grammy nominations — and now, winning the Shortlist Music Prize for her album "The Reminder."

The Shortlist, in its seventh year, pays tribute to artists who haven't hit the mainstream yet. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Ronnie Vannucci of the Killers were among this year's panel of judges.

Feist's "The Reminder" is "the album of the year for 2007 or any year I can think of: It's modern and classic all at once," Lightbody said in a statement released Monday. "There are so many kinds of beauty in this record."

Leslie Feist, who uses only her last name professionally, hails from Canada. She grew up in Calgary and spent her teenage years as lead singer for a hardcore punk band.

Her Grammy nominations include best new artist and best pop vocal album. The Grammys will be presented Sunday in Los Angeles.

Finalists for the 2007 Shortlist Music Prize also included Arcade Fire, Burial, Justice, LCD Soundsystem, M.I.A., Spoon, Stars, Wilco and Working for a Nuclear Free City.

Feist, 31, is the second woman to snag the prize, following Cat Power's win last year. Past winners also include Damien Rice, N.E.R.D., TV on the Radio and Sufjan Stevens.

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Yahoo Music Users Going to RealNetworks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yahoo Inc. will cease operating its online music subscription service and switch its customers to RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody music service as part of a new deal between the companies that calls for Yahoo to promote Rhapsody on its site.

Terms of the deal, to be formally announced Monday, were not disclosed. The move is part of Yahoo's overhaul of its online music offerings.

"People want to have music and consume it in lots of different forms and across different devices and platforms and we want to have a play in as many of those as we can," said Scott Moore, Yahoo's head of media.

Moore said the partnership would allow Yahoo to focus its energies more on free, ad-supported music and other media offerings.

Yahoo Music Unlimited lets users download an unlimited number of tracks that are playable as long as their plan is active.

Under the Yahoo-RealNetworks partnership, subscribers to Yahoo Music Unlimited will be shifted to the Rhapsody service sometime in the first half of this year. Yahoo subscribers' music library and payment plans will remain the same for a limited time after the switch, but those wishing to remain on Rhapsody eventually will be required to sign up at Rhapsody's rates.

Yahoo's subscription rates range from $5.99 a month, if users pay for a full year in advance, or $8.99 a month. Rhapsody memberships start at $12.99 a month.

Yahoo executives declined to say how many subscribers their music service has. Rhapsody has 2.75 million subscribers worldwide, including customers signed up for its premium radio and mobile music services.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo has been hurt by sliding profits and a new management team is trying to turn the company around. Last week, it received an unsolicited $44.6 billion offer from Microsoft Corp.

As part of its deal with RealNetworks, Yahoo will integrate Rhapsody into its online music portal, something both companies hope will translate into new Rhapsody subscribers.

"They are our subscription partner going forward and there's money to be made for both of us in that," Moore said.

The two companies also intend to collaborate on other digital music services, including offering music downloads, the companies said.

In addition to its music subscription service, Yahoo offers free streaming audio, music videos, Web radio. It also operates a premium Internet radio service.

The company's management said last fall it had begun to de-emphasize its subscription model in favor of an advertising-supported music service.

The Internet pioneer also planned to announce Monday that it had acquired FoxyTunes, a browser plug-in that offers — among other features — online searches for music, lyrics and other content tied to media playing on a computer. It also recently launched a Web-based media player.

Moore said the company is still working out the details of upcoming changes to its music offerings, but noted music downloads and ad-supported music would play a role.

"We already have a very significant streaming ad-supported business and that's something that I'm particularly interested in continuing to expand," Moore said. "In terms of downloads, that's another area where I'm not quite ready to talk about yet, but we're very interested and we're exploring our opportunities."

Both Yahoo and Rhapsody have previously offered a limited number of tracks in the MP3 format.

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Harris Among Country Hall Inductees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Country Music Hall of Fame has four new members: Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, the Statler Brothers and the late Ernest "Pop" Stoneman.

Their selection was announced Tuesday by the Country Music Association. They will be formally inducted later this year.

Harris, a native of Birmingham, Ala., first became known for her duet work with Gram Parsons in the 1970s. After Parsons' death in 1973, she began a successful solo career that has spanned pop, country rock and Americana, and earned her 12 Grammy Awards.

Her most commercially successful album was a 1987 project with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton called "Trio."

"I've been thinking about this incredible journey I've been on and how I've been blessed," Harris, 60, said. "It's wonderful to be a member of this place that holds so much reverence for me."

The Statler Brothers, originally from Staunton, Va., were first hired as a vocal backing group by Johnny Cash. They had their first hit in 1965 with "Flowers on the Wall." They had several more Top 40 hits through the 1970s and 1980s, including "The Class of '57," "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine" and "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You."

"We feel like we're in rarified air here, we never expected to be here," said Don Reid, who, with Harold, was one of the only two brothers in the group. "We always looked at the Hall of Fame as a place where our heroes were."

Tom T. Hall, originally from Olive Hall, Ky., is best known as a songwriter who jump-started his solo career following Jeannie C. Reilly's No. 1 hit with his "Harper Valley PTA."

Hall was a top touring and radio act in the '70s, and has written children's songs, several novels and produced a PBS special on bluegrass music.

Tex Ritter once called Hall a "storyteller," and the tag stuck.

"It's very spiritual," Hall said of the honor. "I'm delighted to be standing where I am today."

Traditionally, the Country Music Association inducts one recipient in three separate categories of career achievement: between 1975 and present, between World War II and 1975, and pre-World War II.

This year there was a tie in the voting for the period between World War II and 1975, so both Hall and the Statler Brothers will be inducted in that category.

Stoneman, a Galax, Va., native who died in 1968, wrote and recorded one of the biggest hits of the 1920s, "The Sinking of the Titanic." It was one of the first country records to sell more than a million copies and began a string of recordings through the 1920s with Stoneman's wife and family members.

He helped persuade record producer Ralph Peer, a Hall of Fame member, to go to the Bristol area on the Tennessee-Virginia border and hold recording sessions that are widely considered a watershed in country music.

Many of the "hillbilly" records released before these sessions were recorded in New York by crossover artists, and the Bristol recordings of the Stonemans, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers marked the beginning of the commercial country music industry.

"Johnny Cash called it the Big Bang of country music," Grand Ole Opry announcer and historian Eddie Stubbs said of the Bristol sessions. "If this is so, then Ernest Stoneman lit the match for it all."

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Warner Music Group Falls to 1Q Loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Warner Music Group Corp., whose artists include Led Zeppelin and Josh Groban, posted a first-quarter loss Wednesday, hurt by higher expenses and an impairment charge.

The recording company reported a loss of $16 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with a profit of $18 million, or 12 cents per share, in the previous year.

The results included an $18 million goodwill impairment charge, which reflects the reduced current value of an asset, as well as increased selling, general and administrative expenses.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected net income of 10 cents per share. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue grew 7 percent to $989 million from $928 million a year earlier.

Analysts expected sales of $948.9 million, according to Thomson.

Recorded music sales climbed to $950 million from $800 million, while music publishing revenue increased to $144 million from $133 million. Digital sales surged 41 percent to $141 million.

The company said its revenue results continue to be pressured by the ongoing shift to new forms of digital music.

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Music Companies Sue China's Baidu, Sohu

BEIJING (AP) — Music companies have started a new fight with China's Internet industry over piracy, filing lawsuits accusing popular Web sites Baidu and Sohu of aiding illicit online copying, an industry group said Wednesday.

The suits, filed Monday, ask a Beijing court to order Baidu and Sohu to remove from their search engines links to thousands of sites that carry unlicensed copies of music, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries said.

Music companies lost an earlier lawsuit against Baidu. But China later changed its piracy standards, and companies won a similar case last year against Yahoo's China arm.

"We sent notices to Baidu to get them to take down the links and they failed to comply, so we had to sue them," said the IFPI's Asia regional director, Leong May Seey.

In another moved aimed at undercutting Baidu's popularity among music fans, Google Inc. is poised to offer an advertising-supported service in China that will offer legal downloads of songs for free, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The new Google service, which could debut in the next few weeks, will be offered in a joint venture with, a Beijing-based Web site that already has licensing agreements with Universal Music Group and about 100 other labels. The Journal's report cited unnamed people close to the situation.

Google declined to comment on the report. "We're continually exploring opportunities in search, but we don't have anything to announce at this time," the Mountain View-based company said in a Wednesday statement.

Although it handles more than 60 percent of Internet search requests worldwide, Google is a distant second to Baidu in China, which is expected to emerge as an increasingly attractive market for advertisers as the country's economy continues to expand.

The latest lawsuit against Baidu and Sohu was filed by Universal Music Ltd., Sony BMG Music Entertainment Ltd. and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd., as well as Hong Kong-based Gold Label Entertainment Ltd., according to the IFPI.

"All of the Chinese companies involved operate similar services based on delivering music to their users via `deep links' to hundreds of thousands of infringing tracks on third-party sites, with the aim of driving their own advertising revenue," the IFPI said in a statement.

Phone calls to Baidu and Sohu were not answered Wednesday, the first day of China's official Lunar New Year holiday.

China is a leading source of pirated music, software, movies and other goods. Companies say violations are growing even though Beijing has stepped up penalties and enforcement efforts.

The IFPI says more than 99 percent of all music files distributed in Chin are pirated. It says that despite China's large potential market, the country's legitimate sales of $76 million a year account for less than 1 percent of global sales.

Baidu has about 60 percent of China's search market, while Sogou — Sohu's search engine — has about 1.2 percent, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.

Baidu, Sohu and other Chinese Web sites say they should not be held liable for violations by other Web site operators. After earlier complaints, Baidu added a disclaimer to its site in 2006 saying it "fights piracy."

"The music industry in China wants partnership with the technology companies. But you cannot build partnership on the basis of systemic theft of copyrighted music," IFPI Chairman John Kennedy said in the group's statement.

Leong said the IFPI also filed a new action against Yahoo China accusing it of failing to pay 210,000 yuan ($27,000 in damages and asking a Beijing court to compel the company to comply.

Yahoo's China operations are run by the company's local partner, Alibaba Ltd.

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Feds Querying Labels Over 'Total Music'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has launched an inquiry into "Total Music," an approach for selling digital music that has been the subject of early discussions between major record labels and consumer electronics manufacturers, a person familiar with the inquiry said Thursday.

The department sent a letter seeking more information from Vivendi's Universal Music Group, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday on its Web site that Sony BMG Music Entertainment had received a similar letter.

A Universal spokeswoman declined to comment. An e-mail sent to a Sony BMG spokesman and a call placed after hours to the Justice Department were not immediately returned.

Universal Music has been floating the idea of selling digital music built into all sorts of electronic devices — from digital music players to personal computers — since last year.

The plan hasn't materialized into anything concrete, but discussions between Universal and rival record companies may have raised the potential for antitrust issues at the Justice Department.

The idea behind Total Music involves offering music fans access to unlimited digital music for a period of time with the cost built into the price of the portable music player, mobile phone or other device.

Mobile handset maker Nokia Corp. and Universal struck a deal last year that calls for Nokia to offer a similar service sometime this year.

Past deals between major recording companies have drawn scrutiny from the Justice Department. In 2001, it investigated two online music services, pressplay and MusicNet, which were joint ventures between major record labels.

Two years later, the department concluded there was no evidence the ventures stifled competition.

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Stuart, Smith Donate Bluegrass Guitar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marty Stuart and Connie Smith gave a sweetheart gift to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The Grand Ole Opry stars, who are married, have donated Lester Flatt's 1950 Martin D-28 guitar. The instrument, which some have called "the Holy Grail of bluegrass guitars," was used on most of Flatt and Earl Scruggs' classic recordings and live performances.

Flatt & Scruggs are perhaps best known for their tunes "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from the 1960s TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Flatt bought the guitar for $115 at a Charleston, W.Va., pawnshop in 1956.

In the 1970s he loaned it to Stuart, then a prodigy in his band.

Stuart fell in love with the guitar and often played it until Flatt retired and disbanded his group.

Stuart thought he'd never see it again, but after Flatt's death in 1979 he was able to buy it from Flatt's daughter, Brenda, and has had it ever since.

"It's possibly one of the greatest rhythm instruments ever made," said Stuart, an avid collector.

Stuart and Smith also donated some of their own stage costumes and instruments to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as well as items once belonging to Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

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Joe Jackson Loves Music, Defends Smoking

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joe Jackson defends smoking, hates politics and loves music.

On the music side, he's just released his 24th album, "Rain," and is planning a world tour to promote it this spring.

It's been four years since Jackson's last record — a long break for a guy who practically released albums annually during the first two decades of his career.

"I had 10 songs that I really thought were some of the best I've ever written, and I didn't want to make a new album until I felt like that," he said.

It features Jackson's most spare arrangement yet: piano, bass and drums.

"I was interested with this record in trying to see how big and how varied it could sound using the absolute minimum of resources," he said.

Jackson spent the past several years crafting the songs on "Rain." But the 53-year-old musician has also been busy with other pursuits.

He recently moved from London to Berlin, which he calls "an unusually free and tolerant city," and has been working on a theater piece about the life of Bram Stoker, who wrote the 1897 horror novel "Dracula."

"It isn't really a traditional musical but has music in it. ... It's a bit of a hybrid," Jackson said. "It's really quite an original piece. I'm quite excited about it."

He hopes to see it staged when he wraps the tour.

As for the smoking issue, Jackson isn't a heavy smoker, but he has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and the Telegraph of London and written an essay, "Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State."

"It's one of those issues where we're really only hearing one side of it because the anti-smoking movement is so powerful," he said. "It's for sure absolutely not as dangerous as we're currently being told. ... There's no good evidence that smoking up to about 10 (cigarettes) a day does you any harm whatsoever."

It doesn't affect his voice, either, he said.

But speaking out on the smoking issue is about as political as Jackson will get.

"I certainly have no great respect for politicians as a whole," he said. "I think politics is a cesspool."

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Florida St Puts Its Teams on Probation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A football squad with a history of off-field problems will join other Florida State sports teams on self-imposed probation for two years, and some teams will lose scholarships due to an academic cheating scandal.

The university said in a report Thursday that about 60 student-athletes also have or will lose some eligibility. Two staff members, a tutor and learning specialist, have been fired. No additional dismissals were listed in an investigatory report.

The cheating occurred mainly through online testing for a single music history course in the fall of 2006 and the spring and summer semesters last year. It included staffers helping students on the test and in one case asking one athlete to take it for another.

Florida State officials conducted the investigation with assistance from the NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference and a consulting firm. The report has been sent to the NCAA, which will conduct its own investigation and can impose additional penalties.

The NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff, though, has agreed to a 30 percent across-the-board loss of eligibility for students who came forward and admitted they received improper help with the test.

"A probation is determined on a case by case basis," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said.

She said it does not include a ban on postseason play, which is considered an additional sanction. If a school commits more violations while on probation, it then can face added penalties for the initiation infractions.

"We believe that our investigation has been thorough and exhaustive," said Florida State provost Larry Abele, who chaired the investigating committee. "This university and its Athletics Department have accepted responsibility, made changes in the process and systems and imposed penalties as warranted."

Among the corrective actions is a requirement for all athletics staff members to attend a four-hour training program titled "Decision-Making in the NCAA Compliance Environment." The school also is changing online course procedures including a requirement that tests be taken with a proctor present.

The number of scholarships reduced in each sport hasn't yet been determined but will depend on how many of its athletes were involved.

Some of the penalties already have gone into effect. About two dozen of the football team's top players were suspended for the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn., where the Seminoles lost to Kentucky. Many of those players will remain suspended for the first three games of the 2008 season.

Florida State's off-field football troubles date back to 1981 when six players were placed on probation for a year after pleading no contest to aiding retail theft by obtaining televisions and other merchandise that a former teammate had taken from a department store.

Sports Illustrated ran a cover story in 1994 titled "Tainted Title" that alleged agents paid for a Foot Locker shopping spree by players on Florida State's 1993 championship team. Steve Spurrier, then coaching at Florida, dubbed his archrival "Free Shoes University."

In 1999, receiver Laveranues Coles was kicked off the team and fellow receiver Peter Warrick was suspended, after a department store clerk gave the two star receivers deep and unauthorized discounts on clothing.

Last season, Tallahassee police used a Taser to subdue linebacker Geno Hayes during an altercation outside a night club. Teammate Joe Surrat was charged with striking a police officer.

There also have been academic problems. Deion Sanders stopped going to class during his last year, but didn't miss any playing time, resulting in what's called the "Deion Rule." Quarterback Chris Rix violated the rule by skipping a final exam and was suspended for the 2003 Sugar Bowl.

The school also is making changes at five senior staff levels in the athletic department, though the report did not include details on the changes.

Former athletic director Dave Hart Jr. departed late last year with a year still left on his contract, but he denied it had anything to do with the cheating scandal. Last week, the school hired former Utah State athletic director Randy Spetman.

(This version CORRECTS SUBS lede to correct that teams, not students will lose scholarships)

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Eagles to Play Stagecoach Festival

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Eagles will headline a newly added third day of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival this spring in Indio, Calif.

The group — Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit — will perform material from their latest album "Long Road Out of Eden," as well as classic songs from their 30-plus year career, festival officials said Wednesday.

The Eagles will play May 2 along with John Fogerty, Trisha Yearwood, Shelby Lynne, Glen Campbell and Rissi Palmer.

The festival's previously announced lineup for May 3-4 includes Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, Earl Scruggs and a reunion by The Judds.

In all, more than 50 acts will perform on four stages over the three days.

The Eagles are fresh off a Grammy win (best country performance by a duo or group) for "How Long," the lead single from "Long Road Out of Eden." The song reached No. 23 on the country chart. The band also performed at the Country Music Association awards in November.

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Therapist Was a Music Lover, Counselor

NEW YORK (AP) — Kathryn Faughey was a caring counselor who helped her patients with a range of issues: online relationships, the stress of Sept. 11, abusive partners.

But she had many interests outside work, including a love of Martin Guitars.

She kept in touch with fellow Martin enthusiasts on the Internet and even named her six string Little Anna, which she adoringly described in one posting on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum as the "archetype of the trusted friend, sister, confidante."

Faughey's story has been front-page news in New York City this week after she was found hacked to death in her office with a meat cleaver. A colleague was also badly injured by the attacker, who has been the subject of a police manhunt.

Faughey got involved five years ago with a group of fellow Martin enthusiasts, who kept in touch through a Web site and met for occasional conventions near C.F. Martin & Co.'s headquarters in Nazareth, Pa.

Faughey, 56, also took LittleAnna as her screen name in the online forum, which formed the basis for some fast friendships.

"She was kind of a beginner," recalled club member Rhys Ord, of Florham Park, N.J., noting that some of the club's other members included accomplished professional musicians.

But people took to Faughey immediately, he added, won over by her friendliness, intelligence and great sense of humor.

"She was the kind of person nobody disliked," Ord said.

Don Hurley, a retired journalist in London who met Faughey and her husband through the forum and quickly became a close friend, called her a "keen student" of music whose skills improved steadily.

"For a lady of intellect and stunning capability, she was kind of insecure about her own playing ability, but she really had no reason to be," Hurley said.

Faughey was at her Manhattan office Tuesday night when a man carrying two large bags arrived, sat for a while in a waiting area, then launched a savage attack with a meat cleaver that left the therapist's suite covered in blood.

Police were still trying to identify the killer. It was unclear whether he was a patient or whether he even knew Faughey.

One member of the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum was questioned for several hours Thursday at a state police barracks near his home in Pennsylvania. Investigators released him, however, and have not identified any suspects.

The questioned man, musician William Kunsman, told The Associated Press that he had corresponded with Faughey quite frequently recently about some personal problems and that they had spoken on the phone the afternoon of the attack.

Faughey's therapy practice on Manhattan's Upper East Side was like many hundreds of others catering to the city's endless stream of anxious, heartbroken or stressed-out residents, but with a modern twist.

She described herself on her Web site, as a specialist in issues of "online intimacy," who could offer counsel to people in distress over Internet-based love affairs or talk people through the ways that instant-messaging, blogs and Facebook pages have made breakups more complicated. She also worked with some New Yorkers still unsettled over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

One former patient, Barbara Camwell, described Faughey's therapy as having a spirituality and an intimacy to it, compared to some other analysts who left her cold.

"When I talked to her about my feelings, she got it," Camwell said. "She was one of those therapists who brought a piece of herself into her work."

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EU May Lengthen Music Royalty Period

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Singers and musicians should earn royalty fees for 95 years, almost double the current 50-year limit, a European Union official said Thursday as he promised to draft new copyright protection rules.

"If nothing is done, thousands of European performers who recorded in the late 1950s and 1960s will lose all of their airplay royalties over the next ten years," said EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, the union's internal market chief. "These royalties are often their sole pension."

People are living longer, and 50 years of copyright protection no longer gives lifetime income to performers who recorded hits in their late teens or early twenties, he said.

Most European composers and lyricists currently receive lifetime copyright protection, which passes to their descendants for another 70 years. The new EU rules would not change that.

The new rules would mean performers would get the same 95 years of protection their U.S. counterparts enjoy.

McCreevy said record companies that refuse to rerelease a record during the extended copyright period should not be able to prevent artists from moving to a new label.

The new rules won't increase consumer prices because the price of records out of copyright is often the same as — or higher than — that of newly released discs, he said.

The EU executive also wants to look again at reforming copyright levies charged on blank discs, data storage and music and video players to compensate artists and copyright holders for legal copying when listeners burn an extra version of an album to play one at home and one in the car.

Most European countries charge copyright levies, which add $14.59 to the cost of an 8 gigabyte MP3 player in Finland, $10.21 in France and $3.73 in Germany, manufacturers' group EICTA says. Copyright levies totaled $657 million in 2005.

Electronics manufacturers claim it is unfair to hand over millions of dollars in fees to copyright collectors for all devices containing a storage facility — such as phones that can play digital music files or even printers.

Composers' representatives say these charges are exaggerated.

The levies are charged and paid to artists in 19 of the EU's 25 nations. None are charged in Britain, Ireland or Cyprus, while different systems operate in Greece, Luxembourg and Malta.

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Music Greats Sue for Back Royalties

NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the biggest names in American music or their estates are suing Universal Music Group Inc. for more than $6 million, claiming the company has been cheating them out of royalties for years.

The plaintiffs include Patti Page, and the estates of Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Benny Goodman and the Mills Brothers.

The lawsuit, filed late Thursday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says Universal Music and one of its subsidiaries have "pervasively and systematically breached" agreements with the artists by using accounting tricks since at least 1998.

The lawsuit seeks at least $6.07 million plus attorneys' fees and punitive damages.

A representative at Universal Music said the authorized spokesman was traveling and not immediately available to comment.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Warbringer Poised To Become Harbingers Of American Thrash's New Wave; Plus Earth Crisis, Gorath & More News That Rules, In Metal File

'War and thrash metal are like peanut butter and jelly,' singer John Kevill says.

As with any vocation, there's a learning curve to being a touring musician. There are lots of important skills to master in order to be a consummate professional. And there are many mistakes to be made along the way, as Warbringer singer John Kevill learned at a recent gig in Poughkeepsie, New York, where his band was opening for Exodus.

Onstage, Warbringer tore it up like they always do, but after the show, on Exodus' bus, Kevill demonstrated his relative inexperience. The 21-year-old singer had eaten pizza for dinner and already consumed a few beers when Exodus lead guitarist Lee Altus poured him a particularly strong beverage that isn't available in the U.S.

"I drank it and went, 'Oh, that's brutal,' and they asked me if I wanted another," recalled Kevill before a show in Milwaukee on the last week of the Exodus tour. "I decided I couldn't be a b---h in front of Exodus, so I took it and I ended up throwing up all over [drummer] Tom Hunting's shoes. They all laughed their asses off. And afterwards they said, 'Usually when you drink this, you're supposed to water it down.' "

Kevill may not have his exotic-drinks game down quite yet, but when it comes to old-school thrash metal, he and his bandmates are as fast and skilled as many of the groups that inspired them, such as Exodus, Kreator and Testament. Warbringer's full-length debut, War Without End — which came out earlier this month — is a hail storm of jagged riffs, jackhammer beats and caustic screams. And while the band is firmly entrenched in the new wave of American thrash metal — which includes Black Tide, Fueled by Fire and others — Kevill insisted Warbringer were never interested in capitalizing on any sort of musical trend.

"There's a lot of hype about it right now that makes it more of a novelty than I like," the singer said. "But I think it's ultimately a really good thing that people are getting into metal that doesn't suck. There's no reason that old-school metal shouldn't be played anymore. I enjoy listening to that more than what's coming out today."

Warbringer's seeds were planted in 2005 in Ventura, California, when Kevill was at a friend's house listening to Manowar. Inspired by the galloping beats and thunderous rhythms, the two decided to form a band that was just as primal and powerful. "You know how on that first album [1982's Battle Hymns] Manowar signed a pact in blood?" Kevill said. "Well, we decided to do that, too, because we wanted to make sure we didn't flake out and suck."

A month later, his friend bailed on their contract, but Kevill persevered. He found a guitarist named Viktor, and while he only lasted a couple of months, Viktor later introduced him to guitarist John Laux and his bass-playing brother, Andy. Then, Kevill recruited drummer Adam Carroll from another band, Zombie, and when Carroll decided to switch to guitar, they brought in his ex-Zombie bandmate Ryan Bates on drums. At first, the band called itself Onslaught, then they discovered there was already a British group with that name, and that it had released three influential thrash albums in the '80s.

"Some people gave us flak for not knowing that, but we were 17 and 18, and just discovering that music," Kevill said. "It's not like anyone gave us a thrash-metal encyclopedia. So Adam and I were looking anywhere we could find cool-sounding names, and we decided war and thrash metal are like peanut butter and jelly. So I was attaching the word 'War' to anything I could think of."

The band arrived at the "Bringer" suffix one day when Laux was flipping through a list of different monsters from the video game "Diablo II" and came across the screen name Painbringer. "We had already been [trying to come up with a name] for three hours, so we were like, 'Warbringer! Good enough. We're done.' "

Warbringer recorded a four-song demo and played shows in Los Angeles with Merciless Death, Fueled by Fire, Dekapitator and Toxic Holocaust. Then they wrote a new batch of songs and tracked their debut EP, One by One the Wicked Fall, in October 2006. The disc caused a buzz in the underground and earned Warbringer a deal with Century Media, which signed the band at the end of the year. Warbringer recorded War Without End in fall 2007 with veteran producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, D.R.I.).

Warbringer recorded War Without End in July and August of last year, and for the most part, the tracking was smooth and without incident. The mixing of the album, however, was another story. "Bill spent a few weeks mixing the record, and then his computer took a massive crap and he lost everything he did and had to start over. We almost didn't get the record out in time."

At first, the band planned to call the record Combat Shock, then changed the title to War to End All Wars, a line from one of the featured song lyrics. But then they decided they didn't want the word "war" on their album cover three times, so they settled on War Without End — not realizing it was a line from Metallica's "No Remorse."

"When somebody pointed that out to us, we went, 'Ah, sh--, not again?' Kevill said. "But we decided to go with it anyway."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Metal File recently spoke with Earth Crisis frontman Karl Buechner on the band's upcoming reunion tour with Sworn Enemy, Shai Hulud, Terror, Down to Nothing and Recon, and he said the straightedge metalcore outfit will be recording new material. "We do plan on putting out a record," he confirmed. "We've got six songs so far, and hopefully, we'll record them this year. Hopefully, we'll be playing some of these news songs we've written [on the upcoming tour]." So how does the new stuff sound? "The best way to describe it is it's a mixture between [1995's] Destroying the Machines and [1998's] Breed the Killers," he said. "Stylistically, it's most like songs from those albums." The new Earth Crisis effort will be in stores early next year, he added. Look for our full interview with Buechner in a future Metal File. ... Canadian metal troupe Voivod will hit the studio in the spring to commence the recording of the band's final album, using material left behind by founding guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour, who died in August 2005 from colon cancer. According to Voivod, they have 13 songs to work with. ...

He Is Legend have lost guitarist Mitch Marlow and replaced him with Worth Weaver (Friends for Hire). Marlow jumped ship after accepting an offer to join the recently reunited Filter. ... San Diego's Cattle Decapitation have begun writing material for their next LP, which could be in stores by year's end. The record will be the band's first with new drummer Dave McGraw, who joined the fold in the fall. ... The New England Metal & Hardcore Festival will turn 10 this year, and to celebrate, it has assembled an impressive lineup — perhaps one of the best in recent years. The festival, set for April 25-27 in Worcester, Massachusetts, will feature the likes of Megadeth, In Flames, Shadows Fall, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Ministry, Meshuggah, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Full Blown Chaos, Soilent Green, Brain Drill and Withered, among others. ...

The Sword, Slough Feg and Children will team up in the spring for a quick trip around the U.S. The tour kicks off April 14 in Lubbock, Texas, and runs through April 29 in Oklahoma City. The Sword's sophomore LP, Gods of the Earth, lands in stores April 1. ... Clutch have lined up a spring tour of their own, with Kamchatka opening all dates. The trek gets under way April 9 in Cleveland, and gigs are scheduled through May 3 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. ... There's some sad news coming out of the Machine Head camp this week: The band was forced to skip out on several dates on its tour with Hellyeah, following the passing of drummer Dave McClain's mother. "[We wish] to extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to the McClain family for the tragic loss of Dave's mother, Mary Douglas," the band said in a statement, adding that McClain will rejoin the band for its Friday night (February 15) show in Davenport, Iowa. ...

Belgian black-metallers Gorath have wrapped recording their third LP, Misotheism. The effort will feature seven songs, including "Apophasis," "Abufihamet" and "Metempsychosis." ... Black-metal maestros Theudho have also concluded the recording of their next record, which they've named Cult of Wuotan. The set, due in stores next month, will feature 11 tracks, including "Terror Cimbricus," "Silence Reigned Over the Bog" and "Prophecies in Flames." ... New Zealand death-metallers Dawn of Azazel have parted ways with drummer Martin Cavanagh, and the band says the decision was mutual. "Together [we] have had so many killer times on the road," the band said in a statement, "however, we all felt that it was best for us to separate at this point." No additional information has been provided about the split, but the band has already found a replacement in Jeremy Suckling (Scorcia).

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Kooks Comment On Ex-Bassist: 'I Don't Think He Could Have Physically' Handled Touring

Bandmember stops short of addressing drug rumors, but says Max Rafferty is 'going through a lot in his life.'

These should be nothing but good times for England's the Kooks. The boisterous boys from Brighton have a second album called Konk (named after the studio owned by their Britpop predecessor, Ray Davies of the Kinks) set for release in April, anticipation is rabid in their homeland, and even here in the States, where they enjoy pockets of devoted fans, they recently played to capacity crowds in Los Angeles and New York.

But the fun has been considerably dampened recently by the news last month that Kooks' longtime bassist Max Rafferty had left the band for the second time.

To be more precise, Rafferty was fired, and according to normally carefree frontman Luke Pritchard, this time, it's for good.

"I'd love to work with him again someday, but for now it's a permanent thing — we need to keep going," Pritchard told MTV News on Thursday, in his first on-the-record remarks about Rafferty's departure from the band on January 29.

Drug use by Rafferty has been widely rumored to be at the root of the split, and in deference to his bandmate, Pritchard would not comment specifically on those allegations, saying only, "It got really hard, and he needs to do what he needs to do. In my opinion he's going through a lot in his life, and being in a band doesn't help that kind of stuff."

Rafferty first took a months-long sabbatical from the Kooks in 2006 for "health reasons." He returned in 2007 to what Pritchard called a "honeymoon period," but before long, old problems crept up. "It's sad, man, but it's been going on a long time," he explained, and with a new album on the way and a long tour ahead of them, the band made a tough call.

"You know, I haven't really been this honest about it yet, but the thing is, I don't think [Rafferty] could have done the touring," said an emotional Pritchard. "I don't think he could have physically done it. So we were all sitting around one day, and we all care so much about him, and it was like, 'Well, he's gonna get angry and it's gonna be horrible, but at the same time, I think it would be better to happen now than in a few months when you're on the road and things get crazy."

On a brighter note, the Kooks are gearing up for Konk (due April 15), a more muscular record than their debut Inside In/ Inside Out, with some harder-edged tracks alongside vintage Kooksian singalongs. The band is soldiering on with fill-in bassist Dan Logan (also from Brighton). They just shot a video in Brooklyn, New York, for the album's first single, "Always Where I Need to Be."

And with the tough times hopefully behind them, they're looking forward to returning to America this summer. "Yeah, man, we're really excited," Pritchard said. "Honestly, especially with the way things are right now, I just want to think about music. Fun. Music. Shows. Love. I don't want to think about the other sh--."

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Alicia Keys Reigns At NAACP Image Awards; Plus Britney Spears, Paramore, Eddie Vedder, Raconteurs, Bono & More, In For The Record

Conservatorship over Spears' affairs is disputed; Paramore and Jimmy Eat World announce tour itinerary; Vedder sketches out dates for first-ever solo trek.

Alicia Keys took home four trophies from the NAACP Image Awards, held at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium Thursday night. She won the Outstanding Album and Outstanding Female Artist prizes, as well as the top video and song awards. Other honorees included Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks, Denzel Washington and Janet Jackson. Washington and his "Great Debaters" co-star Jurnee Smollett won the Best Actor and Actress prizes for film, while Jackson received the Best Supporting Actress honor for her work in "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" ...

As Britney Spears' father extended control over her affairs in Los Angeles on Thursday, a New York attorney attempted to undo them by taking the conservatorship to federal court. Claiming he represents the singer — despite a judge already deciding she's unable to retain counsel of her own just yet — attorney Jon Eardley filed a claim that the singer's conservatorship deprives her of her civil liberties, since she's been denied the right to meet freely with whom she chooses (as her father has the power to restrict visitors); make and receive phone calls (since a restraining order prevents manager Sam Lutfi from contacting her); drive a car (since her father hired security to do that for her); and gain access to money or credit cards (since her finances are being handled by her trust). "She is being confined ... to the private person of her own home," the suit reads. Eardley is represented by Lutfi's publicist, Michael Sands, who claims that the motion moves jurisdiction from Los Angeles Superior Court to the U.S. District Court, and voids the conservatorship: "Britney Spears has no conservatorship!" he said in a press release. However, the Los Angeles Superior Court responded, "This is an issue that will have to be litigated by the parties." ...

Paramore and Jimmy Eat World have rolled out dates for their much-anticipated co-headlining tour. The 20-date outing will take them from San Antonio on April 1 to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on May 2, with stops in California, Iowa, New York and elsewhere along the way. ...

Eddie Vedder has sketched out the itinerary for his first-ever solo tour, which he will stage in support of his Grammy-nominated "Into the Wild" soundtrack, according to Billboard. The Pearl Jam frontman will swing through Vancouver, British Columbia, on April 2, after which he'll play a smattering of shows in various California cities: Santa Cruz (April 5), Berkeley (April 7), Santa Barbara (April 10), Los Angeles (April 12-13) and San Diego (April 15). ... The Raconteurs are wrapping up their yet-untitled sophomore effort in Nashville, according to a recent post on their MySpace page. The post wasn't forthcoming with more details, although it did say, "They promise to release [the LP] as soon as they can." ...

U2 frontman Bono and British artist Damien Hirst raised $42 million for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa at a Sotheby's auction in New York on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. The (Red) Auction, co-organized by the Gagosian Gallery, sold pieces from some of the world's top contemporary artists. Sotheby's said model Christy Turlington bought a piece for $170,500. "We got serious about love, and not just the love of art, but the love of our brothers and sisters suffering from AIDS in the poorest places on the planet," Bono said, according to BBC News. ...

Coheed and Cambria, Incubus and Disturbed have been added to the roster for this year's Download Festival in England (June 13-15). They join a lineup that already features Kiss, Judas Priest, the Offspring, Motörhead, H.I.M, Children of Bodom, Rise Against, Lostprophets, Alter Bridge and In Flames. ... Aerosmith are starring in a new edition of "Guitar Hero" called, er, "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith." Due in the summer, the game will feature 30 or so songs by the Boston legends, as well as ones by bands that have opened for Steven Tyler's crew. ...

Chan Marshall — better known as Cat Power — has bulked up her tour schedule in support of her recently released album, Jukebox, according to Pitchfork. Following an April 10 show in Vancouver, British Columbia, she will hit up Seattle the following day and continue playing gigs through an April 20 show at Austin, Texas' South by Southwest fest. Two days later, she'll perform in Houston, after which she'll journey down to Mexico City for an April 23 performance. ... The National — whose last album, Boxer, made many critics' top 10 lists last year — have slipped out a live EP through Rhapsody, Pitchfork reports. The release, called Rhapsody Rocks NYC, contains four songs recorded at New York's CMJ Music Marathon last year. ...

Butch Walker has slapped together a new live album, but in case you're running low on funds these days, don't worry — he's posted the 24-track effort for free download at FriendsorEnemies. Devout fans can get the release with bonus tracks for $5.99. ... Portishead have firmed up their first album in 10 years. Third will drop April 29 and feature 11 songs, including "Nylon Smile," "Magic Doors" and "The Rip." ...

Yoko Ono has denied reports that she was planning legal action against singer Lennon Murphy, who has sought to trademark the name of her band, Lennon. In a letter to the technology blog BoingBoing, Ono explained that several years ago, Lennon Murphy sought Ono's permission to perform under her birth name, Lennon Murphy, which Ono did not object to. But later, without Ono's knowledge, the singer reportedly filed an application in the U.S. Trademark Office requesting the exclusive right to utilize the name "Lennon" for musical performances. Ono's attorneys asked Murphy's lawyers and manager to withdraw the registration, offering to cover all costs Murphy had incurred in filing for the trademark. When Murphy went ahead with the registration anyway, Ono said she did not sue Murphy, but had her attorneys notify the trademark office that Ono did not believe it was fair that Murphy be granted the exclusive right to the Lennon trademark for musical and entertainment services. Ono wrote, "I am really hurt if people thought that I told a young artist to not use her own name in her performances and had sought to sue her. I did no such thing. I hope this allegation will be cleared." ...

Borders Books is trying a new method to appeal to music downloaders. According to a press release, the retailer will roll out 14 new concept stores this year featuring "digital centers" that will allow customers to burn CDs and download music and books to most MP3 players, though not to iPods.


Avril Lavigne, who was once known as the "anti-Britney," now has nothing but sympathy for the pop star, as she reveals in the new issue of Maxim. "No one else has it as hard as Britney," she told the magazine. "I feel bad for her. How does she even think with all those flashbulbs? When I'm being followed, everything's thrown off. They run red lights. They cause accidents. She can't even walk to her car. F---ing stalkers." Lavigne, who has been known to flip off and spit on the paparazzi in the past, also said she's disgusted at speculation that she's pregnant with her first child. "Remember in high school when people would start fake rumors about you?" she asked. "Well, this isn't high school. It's like, the entire world." Check out more Avril photos from the mag's March issue at Maxim. ...

A Los Angeles judge decided Thursday (February 14) to extend the temporary conservatory powers that Britney Spears' father has over the singer's affairs — at least through the next hearing, on March 10. Jamie Spears had been granted control to oversee Britney's well-being and her estate earlier this month, along with co-conservator Andrew Wallet. Court-appointed investigator Samuel Ingham told the court Thursday that he had not finished his psychological evaluation of the singer and was granted an extension until the next hearing. Also by March 10, Britney must undergo a 730 evaluation to study her family to determine the best custody arrangements, Commissioner Reva Goetz decided. Goetz also named Britney's older brother, Bryan — who used to work on her former management team — along with New York estate attorney Ivan Taback as co-trustees for the singer's trust while she is considered unable to manage her own affairs. Meanwhile, Britney's current manager Sam Lutfi has yet to be served with a restraining order. The lawyers for the conservatorship concluded that Lutfi was intentionally avoiding being served because they'd already spent over 200 hours trying to reach him. A hearing about the restraining order is scheduled for February 22. ...

Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles, isn't too happy about Aretha Franklin scolding his daughter for comments she made about the Queen of Soul at Sunday's Grammy Awards. "Something this ridiculous — it's childish, it's unprofessional," he said in a statement on Thursday, according to People. "And it's a sad day when egos get bruised because somebody used the word 'king,' 'queen,' 'prince' or 'princess.' " Beyoncé introduced Tina Turner as "the queen" during the ceremony, after which Franklin released a statement in which she said, "I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé. ... However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy." ...

Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin and others are voicing support for Alejandro Sanz after the cancellation of a concert he intended to play in Venezuela, Reuters reports. In 2004, the Latin American singer claimed President Hugo Chávez had tried to quash a campaign for a recall referendum against him. Sanz supporters are reportedly accusing Chávez of censorship in the wake of the concert cancellation. ... White Stripes are getting some extra lovin' at Best Buy, Pitchfork reports. The retail chain is selling a five-track EP surrounding the band's new single, "Conquest," that features all the accompanying B-sides that were previously available only on vinyl or in digital form. The EP comes free with the purchase of the band's Icky Thump album, or it can be bought separately. ...

Well, so much for all those reunion tours. A day after Billboard reported that the Police would be retiring for good after their upcoming North American trek comes news that the reunited Spice Girls likely won't go on either. Geri Halliwell — or Ginger Spice, to the fans — told the site she isn't anticipating a follow-up to the group's current run, which ends February 26 in Toronto. "It probably won't happen ever again," she said. "I'm still absolutely blown away that we did more than one show. So right now I'm thinking this is it. This is the last time you will ever get to see this Girl Power, the five Spices on the stage as one." Still, she added the requisite nugget of wisdom: "You can never say never." ...

The Smashing Pumpkins have dished up an unreleased track, "SuperChrist," for a limited-edition CD that will be made available March 1 at Guitar Center locations, according to Billboard. The compilation disc, which doesn't have a name, was curated by Billy Corgan and the gang — they picked acts that feature Guitar Center employees based on submissions from them. "SuperChrist" was a leftover track from the Pumpkins' 2007 album, Zeitgist, and the band has previously played it on tour. An accompanying video will premiere February 27 on MySpace. ... Guitar Center has another limited-edition goody too: a Roland RZA/Forat Custom MV8800 machine designed by the RZA and electronic trailblazer Bruce Forat. The hand-painted device features original artwork by the two, including allusions to the Wu-Tang Clan's recent 8 Diagrams LP. If you're interested in getting one, though, you'll have to throw down big bucks and act fast when they go on sale February 28: Only eight machines are being made available, and they cost a pricey $5,999 apiece. ...

Christina Aguilera has "never had more respect for the female body," the new mom told People for its new issue, which hits newsstands Friday. She added of her C-section to deliver her 4-week-old son, Max: "The hardest part was deciding on his birthday. I wanted to leave it up to fate, but at the same time I was ready to be done early!" The singer, who shared photos of her baby with the magazine, said she intends to start recording in her home studio this month. As for what she and husband Jordan Bratman have been spinning lately, she revealed: "Yesterday we had Led Zeppelin blaring through the house. Most new moms play Beethoven, but we're playing Metallica, Bob Marley, the Stones." ...

An interview with Michelle Williams in which she addressed her breakup with Heath Ledger, who died from an accidental drug overdose late last month, has just been published. "Obviously so much has changed for me in the last few months that I don't really have an idea of what my life is going to be," Williams told the U.K.'s Wonderland Magazine for what is said to be her last interview before the actor's death. "I thought I knew certain things and it turned out that I didn't, so I don't really try and anticipate so much anymore. I'm not making any bets on the future." ...

Chris Rock has been confirmed to appear the 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place June 12-15 in Manchester, Tennessee. He's just one of more than a dozen comedians set to perform at the fest — a list that also includes David Cross and Janeane Garofolo — but he's the only one that'll do his work from Bonnaroo's main stage (the same stage Kanye West, Pearl Jam and Metallica will appear on) in front of 80,000 somewhat-dazed-and-confused festival-goers. ...

Madonna premiered her directorial debut Wednesday at the Berlin Film Festival, but she said the flick didn't come without a "struggle." Madge and members of the "Filth and Wisdom" cast also held a press conference, during which she said, "One of the themes that I explore in the film is struggle, and if I look back to the beginning of my career, I can recall those moments of struggle like it was yesterday. There are aspects of [the characters'] struggle that I could relate to completely, and I could access that memory and put it into the story." ...

Moby is building anticipation for his upcoming album, Last Night, with an exclusive downloadable preview mix at RCRDLBL. Last Night, meanwhile, is due April 1. ... As it turns out, Moby has something in common with Norah Jones, Lou Reed, David Byrne and Scissor Sisters: a mutual distaste for the Iraq war. The musicians will come together March 18 — the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion — in New York for "Speak Up!: A Benefit Concert for Peace in Iraq & Justice at Home." The event will take place at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn. ...

Broken Social Scene have lumped more dates onto their upcoming world tour, Pitchfork reports. In addition to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore, the band will also hit Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Luxembourg, Russia, the U.K., France, and the U.S. ... Battles are gearing up for some road action too: The band, adored by indie-philes, will play Bonnaroo June 12, after which it will swing through Washington, D.C., two days later, and then Philadelphia the day after that. ... Kristin Hersh, Cornershop's Anthony Saffery, Dirty Vegas' Steve Smith and others have concocted heartfelt covers of songs made famous by Joe Cocker, Bill Withers and others in time for Valentine's Day. Expansion Team Records just released Souvenirs, which contains the tracks, in CD and digital form. ...

Clear Channel Broadcasting — the media giant that owns the radio station that promoted the fatal Great White show in 2003 at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island — agreed Wednesday to pay $22 million for more than 100 claims stemming from the fire that claimed 100 lives. According to The Boston Globe, the settlement is linked to Clear Channel's WHJY-FM, which ran ads for the show, where station DJ Michael Gonsalves was killed after introducing the band onstage. "We continue to be deeply saddened by the tremendous harm suffered by the victims, their families and the community as a result of this tragic fire," Andy Levin, chief legal officer of Clear Channel Communications, said in a written statement. "While Clear Channel had no role in causing or contributing to this fire, we are pleased to resolve these claims and, hopefully, contribute in some way to a sense of resolution for the affected victims and their families." The settlement comes on the heels of a $30 million tentative agreement reached three weeks ago with Rhode Island TV station WPRI-TV, whose photographer was accused of standing in the way of patrons attempting to escape the burning building. ...

Three people were arrested at Sunday's Grammy Awards on suspicion of using stolen passes to get access to the show. According to The Associated Press, Sebastian Bonner, 20, was arrested after he tried to enter the event at Los Angeles' Staples Center using one of nine stolen all-access passes. Courtney Mitchell, 30, and Pamela Clay, 44, were found with someone else's event ID card and arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property. Police believe the motive was a desire to see celebrities. "We eliminated that this wasn't something more serious than some people who wanted to see the Grammys who are star-struck," Commander Andrew Smith said. Police believe someone on the inside sold the IDs to friends and acquaintances. ... On Tuesday, Oklahoma State University forwarded a list of 11 student names to the Recording Industry Association of America, in compliance with a court order in the RIAA lawsuit accusing the students of unlawfully downloading copyrighted recordings using school servers. The students had filed a motion to quash their subpoenas, but the judge denied it and ordered the school to turn over their names. Wired reported that the move by OSU was the latest incidence of a university complying with the RIAA's newest tactic in combating illegal file-sharing.

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Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla Gets Political With Solo Album, Barack Obama Support

'Sing Again,' first single from Field Manual, is 'about getting connected with people, whether they value the same things you do or not.'

Chris Walla looks like he's about to make his first Communion. Or go to a job interview. And that's somewhat fitting, because in a way, he's doing both.

He's in New York doing publicity for his first proper solo album, Field Manual, and he's decided to wear a pinstripe three-piece suit for the occasion. And why not? After all, he was never quite sure he'd finish the album, which he recorded for more than a decade in off-and-on sessions between work with his primary band, Death Cab for Cutie, and the myriad of production he does on the side (including Tegan and Sara's The Con and the Decemberists' Picaresque and The Crane Wife). Not to mention the fact that for a brief period last year, the album was the property of the Department of Homeland Security.

So, yeah, he's sort of earned the right to dress up. This is a big step for him.

"Oh, man, I don't know about the suit. I mean, it's February, it's New York, it's a wool suit. I guess it's also a solo-record suit, 'cause I wore it in one of the publicity photos too," he laughed. "I delivered the Death Cab record to Atlantic yesterday, and I wore it yesterday because it seemed like the right thing to do. And it's so warm and comfortable, I decided to wear it again."

He also looks strangely like a guy on his way to an Iowa caucus location, which is sort of fitting, considering the strong political themes that surge through Field Manual. The war in Iraq, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a call to organize, an imagined conversation between a Seattle librarian and a U.S. senator about federal budget cuts: It's all there, albeit buried beneath a DCFC-like layer of indie sheen.

"I wanted to make sure this album reads as good as it sounds," he said. "You can listen to it and then open up the lyric sheet, and it reads like a little story, like some weird piece of prose.

"The whole goal with this record was not to beat people over the head with the political stuff," he continued. "But at the same time, it's all there, because it's totally stuff I talk about all the time. I'm not playing some 'formal character of myself' or something like that. I mean, it's a carefully considered record, but it's all me."

Those political leanings are nothing new — in 2004, Death Cab took part in the Vote for Change Tour, alongside acts like Bruce Springsteen and Bright Eyes. But now, Walla is taking it one step further and coming out in support of a candidate: Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

"I certainly don't remember an election like this," he said. "I was motivated in 2004, but I was motivated from a place of disgust and fear. Whereas this time, I really feel motivated from a place of possibility. And all of those terms, Obama has sort of picked them out of the dictionary and put them out there — possibility and optimism and change. It's so refreshing, even though it's turned into a bandwagon for the other candidates to jump on. Like, what an awesome bandwagon for everyone to jump on!

"It's been sad for me, but I've had a real problem being able to get behind Senator [Hillary] Clinton in any real way, particularly over the last couple months," he continued. "Six months ago, I would've told you I would've been thrilled to cast my vote for her, but the way her campaign has unfolded is so wrong to me. The mailers that have gone out in a couple of the primaries calling into question Obama's record on choice are particularly phony, and for her to try to attack him over that is counterproductive for politics; it's counterproductive to the cause. In policy terms, she's an excellent leader, but I feel that the way she's playing this game is so old, and the rulebook she's drawing from is so outdated, that it isn't translating to me, it's alienating to me."

While Walla realizes that his power to sway people's minds might be limited, he has been encouraged by what he's seen in voter turnout so far. Whether voters cast ballots for Obama, Clinton or the Republicans, Senator John McCain or former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, he's just happy they're participating. After all, it's what he wrote the song "Sing Again" (which just so happens to be the first single from Field Manual) about.

"Stephen Colbert coined the term 'solitarity' at one point, which is the new solo activism, where you sit in front of your computer and you're super-angry about whatever and you blog about it and that's all you do. And there's no community in that. There's only so much collective power that you can get out of connecting to someone through your laptop," Walla said. "And this whole idea of caucusing, where people are caucusing in record numbers that we've never seen before, is so exciting. It's citizens interacting with other citizens and other voters, maybe for the first time ever. 'Sing Again' is about just getting connected with people, whether they value the same things you do or not. That's what's important."

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Heath Ledger's Final Film To Go Forward -- With Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell In His Role: Report

The three actors have signed on to complete film, according to Aintitcoolnews.

Heath Ledger died last month at the age of 28, but his final performance will live on — thanks to a little creativity and some famous friends.

Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell have all signed on to film scenes as Ledger's character in Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," a magical re-telling of the Faust story, according to Aintitcoolnews. The announcement serves as a tribute to the man many have called one of the best actors of his generation.

"Terry was a very good friend [of Heath's]," co-star Christopher Plummer told People last month. "He very much [wanted] to go on with the movie, and I can very much understand why — because he wants to dedicate it to Heath, of course."

The fate of "Parnassus" was the object of considerable speculation in the wake of Ledger's death.

The film, which only recently moved to Vancouver after exterior shoots in London, centers on the Faustian bargain between the aged Dr. Parnassus (Plummer), a 1,000-year-old performer, and the Devil (Tom Waits). The pair travel through worlds of fantasy locked in a battle over the rights to the life of Parnassus' daughter.

Ledger was to play a magical interloper on a parallel quest. In the film, his character reportedly enters several magical mirrors on his journey. Each time he does so now, he will exit a different actor.

"Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way of turning Heath into other people," Plummer told People.

Depp previously worked with Gilliam on both "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and the ill-fated "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote." For Law and Farrell, it will be the first time working with the famously mercurial and imaginative director.

For more on Heath Ledger's tragic passing, read reactions from his admirers, as well as casting directors he worked with. Also, watch Ledger talk about his evolution as an actor in a 2005 interview with MTV News.

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Confirming long standing rumors, Activision announced this morning that they’re teaming with rock band Aerosmith to produce an entirely new “Guitar Hero” game dedicated solely to virtually playing along with their songs, titled simply “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith”.
Typical of a “Guitar Hero” announcement, the track list is currently a secret, but the press release did name-drop “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Dream On,” and “Sweet Emotion.”
In fact, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners will have a chance to download a copy of “Dream On” for “Guitar Hero III” for free over Xbox Live and PlayStation Network from February 16-18.
“On a larger scale, it’s cool for us to be pioneers, helping to rebuild the music industry through a format like video games,” said Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler in the press release. “It’s great for rock since the record companies are struggling to make sense of how things are changing. Fans want to get and experience music in new formats–and there are going to be some of them who will play the game, then pick up the guitar for real and start bands.”
This isn’t the band’s first appearance in modern music games, either. The MTV Rhythm Game Track Finder shows that Aerosmith has had six songs spread across the “Guitar Hero,” “Karaoke Revolution” and “Rock Band” franchises.
Neversoft, the same folks behind last fall’s “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,” is behind the Aerosmith, “Guitar Hero” collaboration. If you haven’t yet upgraded to a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 yet, no worries; “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” is also coming to Wii (in stereo this time, we hope) and PlayStation 2, courtesy of Vicarious Visions and Budcat respectively. No word yet on a PC or Mac version.
“Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” drops on all platforms in June, but as we mentioned, this isn’t the first time Aerosmith has invaded games, far from it. Certainly, you remember shooter classic “Revolution X”? No? Just a little?
Discover the breadth of Aerosmith’s gaming journeys by reading on.

Aerosmith is probably best known for “Midway”’s light gun shooter “Revolution X.” Our favorite moment comes only a few minutes into the adventure, which is about as much as we could take while revisiting the “classic.”  Picture this: a club shoot-out involving hundreds of copy-cat thugs taking aim at the player suddenly climaxes with a heavily pixelated Aerosmith rocking out on stage for a crowd of zero, only to be rudely interrupted mid-song and kidnapped by the evildoers. Clearly, the player must put a stop to such madness.

This isn’t the band’s first stint with a guitar simulator, either. “Quest for Fame”, released all the way back in 1995 by Virtual Music Entertainment, actually came bundled with a V-Pick. While the V-Pick wasn’t quite as elaborate as the five-button “Guitar Hero” controller, the V-Pick detected motion and allowed players to strum along to different Aerosmith songs using just about anything shaped like a guitar — a tennis racket, for example.

Don’t believe us? Check out this video for undeniable, mid-90s CD-ROM quality video proof. We can only hope “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” nears such greatness.

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Maynard James Keenan Hearts Foo Fighters; Says Tool Will Start Writing LP 'Right Away'

Enigmatic singer finally attended Grammy Awards for the first time on Sunday, with his son in tow.

Revered avant-metallers Tool have been nominated for several Grammy Awards over the years, and they've even won three: Best Metal Performance in 1997 and 2001; and Best Recording Package in 2006 for their most recent LP, 10,000 Days. This year, Tool were up for Best Hard Rock Performance again, for the 10,000 Days track "The Pot," but they lost the award to the Foo Fighters.

Not surprisingly, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has long shunned the Grammys, and had never even been to the ceremony before Sunday night — despite the numerous nods to his band's work. So why the change of heart, Maynard?

"Well, it's the 50th anniversary, and my son's never been to the Grammys, and I've never been to one, so I figured it's probably time," Keenan told MTV News on the Grammy red carpet on Sunday. His date for the event was his 12-year-old son, Devo, who is a cellist for Ashes Divide, the band founded by Keenan's A Perfect Circle co-pilot, Billy Howerdel. "There are other things we could do, but this is very special, I think, and it will be the highlight of the year for him. I think he's pretty stoked about it. We're kind of easygoing."

The reclusive Keenan isn't the awards-show-going type, of course, but, just before heading inside Los Angeles' Staples Center, he admitted he was looking forward to the Foo Fighters' Grammy performance. "It's going to be tremendous," he predicted of the band's outdoor set, which featured a full orchestra conducted by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.

But really, talking about the Grammys isn't exactly an exciting endeavor for Keenan, and as fans might expect, the enigmatic singer has a lot on his plate anyway. His idiosyncratic side project, Puscifer, is keeping him quite busy, and so is his Sedona, Arizona, winery, Merkin Vineyards. Late last year, Keenan — who is a passionate wine connoisseur — released a 2004 Nagual de la Naga, a 2004 Nagual del Sensei and a new Primer Paso.

And yes, there's also Tool's fifth studio album to think about. While he wouldn't say much about the forthcoming LP, Keenan did reveal that the band would soon be reconvening to start kicking around song ideas.

"We're going to start writing the new Tool record right away," he said.

That said, there's no time table for the disc — Keenan didn't say when he expected the band to start tracking the effort, when it might be ready for release or what it might sound like. But with Tool's touring schedule wide open for the foreseeable future, he said it's time for the band to buckle down. He also elaborated on Tool's creative process.

"The music always comes first," Keenan said. "We all get in a room, shut out all the extra noises from the other people and what goes on outside the room and just focus on the four of us, where we are that day. And then we just start making sounds."

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'Project Runway' Recap: Designers Turn To Their Own Classics In High-Art Challenge

In their effort to get to Fashion Week, the designers brushed aside the old masters in favor of the tried and true.

It took four seasons for "Project Runway" to produce the challenge I've always wanted to see: using classic works of art as inspiration for fashion. In theory, it's brilliant. You take the final five in the competition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and show them Greek, Roman, European and Egyptian masterpieces. You then give them a chance to turn timeless artistry into proof of their own genius. But what do you get when your top designers are already convinced of their own genius? You get last night's episode, which proved life imitates art only when it isn't desperate to get to Fashion Week.

All right, it's the elephant in cyberspace so let's just get it out of the way, shall we? Fashion Week has already passed in New York. We know that all five remaining designers presented 13-piece collections. In fact, we already know what the collections look like — the pictures are all available online. Oh, and we also know that Victoria Beckham, in all her delightfully taut-skin glory, is the finale's guest judge. So this challenge was more an opportunity to find out something we didn't know about the designers or, more important, for them to find out something new about themselves. The problem is, the designers picked artwork that looked like the clothes they've been making all the time. Rami draped a Grecian dress, Christian made a European puffy shirt, and Chris even copied a design he'd already used in another challenge. Maybe it's good for designers to have such a strong aesthetic, or maybe it's boring. I mean, if you can't walk into one of the greatest museums in the world and get creative, you might as well go design for the Gap.

The Challenge

The episode began with the final five going out of their comfort zone and heading to the Upper East Side, as Tim escorted them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The designers were told to choose a work of art as inspiration for a look of their choice. They could choose from the Greek and Roman sculpture courtyard, the European painting wing and the Egyptian Temple of Dendur. Rami went straight for the sculptures and started taking pictures of every dress he has ever designed. All the other designers focused on paintings in the European wing, although Chris did insist he saw Joan Rivers' initials carved into the Temple.

Back in the workroom the designers were given two days and a budget of $300 to complete the challenge. Christian, who chose a Spanish painting of a man, wanted a female version of his look to emphasize androgyny. Somehow he had already completed a four-piece outfit before Jillian even finished pleating, causing the tamest of chick fights to ensue. Jillian went as far as to call Christian's look "marshmallowy." To quote Christian himself, "Ew, don't get bitchy!" But you can't blame the other designers for being annoyed with Christian. I mean, he's only 21, he has studied under Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, and he's always done early. At least he doesn't nap with his extra time, like Chris did last night. I guess it's easier to complete your look when you've done it before. Déjà vu much?

Thankfully, Tim brought a much needed wake-up call to the workroom. It went something like this: Rami, stop draping. Christian, stop obfuscating. Jillian, hurry up. Chris, actually wake up. Sweet P, um, yeah. Poor Sweet P. I was really impressed that she chose a painting of peacocks as inspiration — she was, in fact, the only designer to choose art that didn't depict clothing. Unfortunately, it seems in her nature to think commercially, and her dress was very simple, despite how long it took her to make. I almost shed a tear watching her graciously lose to the other four contestants, knowing she had been so close to her dream. Oh, who am I kidding? Sweet P did show at Fashion Week, even if it was only because "Runway" wanted to avoid spoiling the show's finale. I love happy endings.

Runway Guest Judge: Roberto Cavalli

Chris March with model Marcia: Long, sweeping crepe gown with oversized pewter ruffle collar on one side and tie at hip. Styled with beehive hairdo. Cavalli thought it was the most artistic and could see Chris showing his collection at the haute couture shows in Paris. Michael called it dramatic but reminiscent of the earlier dress Chris and Christian made. Heidi forgot how beautiful the dress was because she had seen it before. In for "semifinals" against Rami before Fashion Week.

Christian Siriano with model Lisa: White organza blouse with puffed sleeves, structured black vest and capelet, black pantaloons. Styled with wide-brim hat. Cavalli loved the outfit because he could tell how much love Christian put in it, and he loved the details on the shirt under the vest. Nina commented on how Christian thinks about the "show" but remains practical. Michael found it super-chic. In for Fashion Week.

Rami Kashou with model Sam: Knee-length, strapless violet dress with fitted bust, single-sleeve detail and backless draping. Cavalli called it too normal. Michael said he expected more from Rami and the look was predictable. Heidi liked it but agreed she knew she was always going to see beautiful Grecian draping from him. Nina also wanted to see Rami out of his box. In for "semifinals" against Chris before Fashion Week.

Sweet P Vaughn with model Lea: Silk sheath dress with gold, red, purple and teal panels and false pockets. Styled with feathers in the hair. Michael called it a nice dress that was wearable and flattering but said it had no "show" to it. Cavalli wanted to see something more special. Heidi also called it sweet, but Michael added they wanted to see more than just commercial clothing. Out for Fashion Week.

Jillian Lewis with model Lauren: Fitted black jacket with high collar, flared below the waist and gold detailing on hem; over V-neck, metallic pleated mini-dress with braid detail on waist. Nina loved the interpretation of the painting and said Jillian keeps her surprised. Cavalli thought the detailing was fantastic and said he'd be happy to have Jillian on his staff. Heidi said the gold inside the jacket "wowed" her. Michael applauded how the clothes did great things for the model's body. In for Fashion Week.

Winning designer: Christian Siriano

Out: Sweet P Vaughn

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Samuel L. Jackson Unlocks Secret To His Most Successful Roles: His Hair

From 'Pulp Fiction' to 'Jumper,' the actor explains the origins of his characters' iconic 'dos.

Samuel L. Jackson is an immense talent, an Oscar-nominated actor of incredible range and proficiency. But from whence comes his ferocity, his poise, his ability to command the screen with his mere presence? Could the secret lie in his classical training? Could it be from his own profound life experiences? Could it be ... from his hair?

Consider this: The effectiveness of a Jackson performance is directly proportional to the uniqueness of his character's hairstyle. Crazy hair in "Pulp Fiction"? That's an Oscar nom. Shaved head in "Star Wars"? Upstaged by Yoda. Crazy hair in "Resurrecting the Champ"? Return to form! Normal hair in "Changing Lanes"? Return to Blockbuster!

Is Jackson a modern-day Samson? (Sam, Samson — coincidence?) He invited us beneath the wig to find out.

Film: "Pulp Fiction"
Jackson role: Jules Winnfield
Hairstyle: greasy Jheri curl
Looks like: Lionel Richie circa 1984

Jackson's Jules is a pop-culture junkie, a man of all times and yet also specifically of this time and this place. His hairstyle says, "I'm just like Fonzie. And how did Fonzie act? Cool."

"Quentin's original idea was that Jules would have a big Afro. His mistake was, he sent this young white girl to South Central Los Angeles to pick up an Afro wig, and this is what she came back with," Jackson said of the Jheri curl's origin. "And I looked at it and said, 'Oh, this is perfect!' I'm going, 'Remember Ice Cube and Dr. Dre and all those guys had this hair when they were N.W.A with Eazy-E?' So I put it on and sprayed it with some stuff and was like, 'This is Jules!' "

Film: "Unbreakable"
Jackson role: Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass
Hairstyle: frizzy afro, parted to one side
Looks like: Frederick Douglass

M. Night Shyamalan's neo-realist comic caper pits an ordinary superhero (Bruce Willis) against Jackson's Elijah Prince, a brilliant master criminal, whose aggressive and bold exterior belies a startling physical fragility. Jackson's stiff hair denotes a man of anger, its style a hostile rebuke to those who would stand in his way.

"Night actually chose the hair, even though we were going in the same direction when we were thinking about it. We were thinking Frederick Douglass," Jackson explained. "Big Afro with the part, swooping to the side. Fortunately, we wanted hair that was big and like this [he demonstrates with his hands], and this is what he chose for Elijah. It was cool."

Film: "Jackie Brown"
Jackson role: Ordell Robbie
Hairstyle: long, straight hair, sometimes braided
Looks like: the backup singer from "Super Fly"

Like most Jackson characters, gunrunner Ordell Robbie is one bad mutha (shut your mouth!) — just smart enough to be scary, not smart enough to be intimidating. The hair, in a way, perfectly mirrors Ordell's plight as a man who's always hanging onto some former glory, always one step behind.

"OK, now, Quentin [Tarantino] kind of fought me on this hair, 'cause he was kind of saying, 'Nobody wears their hair in that 'Super Fly' mode anymore,' and it was kind of passé," Jackson revealed. "I was trying to explain to them that Ordell was kind of stuck in this time frame, this period in his life, and he had just enough money to kind of keep his hair straight, but not enough money to keep it done around the edges. So ... some days [my hairdresser] would put it in two braids, some days he would have it in one French braid in the back. We made up our minds that we were gonna do stuff to it until he got desperate, and then it would be all loose and wild, and kind of jacked up."

Film: "Jumper"
Jackson role: Roland Cox
Hairstyle: close-cropped, white
Looks like: Uncle Ben

Who is Roland? What does he want? Why is he after Jumpers? Jackson thinks his hair provides a clue.

"We wanted it to be very close, very white, very striking when you see him," Jackson said of his hairstyle. "In my mind, Roland's sort of timeless. We don't know how old he is. We know he's old, 'cause he's been around, his white hair informs us of that, but he's also very virile and breaks down walls and cracks floors and takes a lot of punishment. People tend to look different in science-fiction films, and I figured that would be an interesting look for me, 'cause I hadn't done it yet."

Check out everything we've got on "Jumper."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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