ATN's Music News of the World
Illness Forces Lolla Headliners Korn Off TourAddicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : One of Lollapaooza's biggest draws this summer, Korn has dropped out of the lineup less than halfway through the tour after guitarist James "Munky" Schaffer was diagnosed with what doctors believe to be the brain disease viral meningitis.Current darlings of the angry young man set and Lolla '97 headliners, Korn completed only 14 of the 33 scheduled Lolla dates before Shaffer fell ill earlier this month. They have already missed seven dates and will not be available for the remaining 12, according to Lisa Vega, of Scoop Marketing, which handles the publicity for Lolla."We love our fans, this is the last thing we want to do but it's the only decision to make at this time," said Korn singer Jonathan Davis, explaining in a press release that the band didn't think it could go on without Schaffer. "It just doesn't feel right without Munky."The rising California-based band, which was performing on the main stage alongside such big name acts as Tool, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tricky, James and Julian & Damian Marley, played their final Lollapalooza date on July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Blossom Music Center.A press release from Dan Klores Associates, the company handling public relations for Korn, said that Schaffer was "initially diagnosed with viral meningitis." It did not give details as to how he may have contracted the potentially serious illness, but goes on to say that the guitarist is currently under a doctor's care in Los Angeles and that a more complete diagnosis is forthcoming.Dr. Mark Strassberg, a San Francisco-based neurologist said Tuesday, that based on the limited information given the public, it doesn't seem that Schaffer is in any serious health danger. The disease is usually not life-threatening, he added."We typically don't make much of it," Strassberg said. "It usually consists of a headache, which can be quite severe and uncomfortable, and some muscle fatigue and pain in the neck."Strassberg explained that the disorder, which usually corrects itself, is a form of meningitis, an inflammation in the lining of the brain, which can be caused by a number of different viruses. Among the more harmless viruses which can cause meningitis are echo or coxsacki. But others may be more severe, such as mycoplasma, lyme disease or tuberculosis."Most cases of this kind of aseptic meningitis are due to benign viruses and they go away on their own," Strassberg said. "But the first thing to do is what it sounds like he's done, which is get a proper diagnosis and make sure they're not missing a more serious disorder."Korn, a Huntington Beach, Calif. quintet whose mix of thrash and rap has made them popular among young angry rock fans looking for new idols who speak their language, shot to prominence in 1995 with the nursery rhyme-quoting song "Shoots and Ladders." Their current album, Life is Peachy recently passed the 700,000 sales mark, according to their label, Epic Records.Though the band will miss out on the remaining Lollapalooza dates, Vega said no other act has been tapped to take Korn's slot in the Lolla '97 lineup. L.A.'s Failure has stepped into the opening position on the main stage.***Typhoon Rosie Overpowers Chili Peppers at Fuji FestAddicted To Noise Tokyo correspondent Brian Kushnir reports : It was to be the biggest and most talked-about outdoor rock festival in Japanese history. On two stages over the course of a mid-summer's weekend, the Japanese concert promoter Smash had managed to assemble a daring crossover festival format, pitting some of the hottest bands in the alt-rock scene, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day and Foo Fighters, together with the hippest of the avant-techno scene, including Prodigy, Aphex Twin, Atari Teenage Riot, Massive Attack and Squarepusher. To top it off, last weekend's event was to take place at a spectacular location on the side of Japan's Mt. Fuji, a massive volcano that stands as the very symbol of Japan. Then Typhoon Rosie paid an unwelcome visit, making a muddy mess of the festival's first day and canceling the second show Sunday. Here is Act II of my experience at Fuji.ACT II: THE DESTRUCTION - OUT WITH A BANGThe rain wouldn't stop. And the mud, well, it only got deeper.The Chili Peppers were trying to keep things going, playing a hilarious version of the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" in front of their own "Stone Cold Bush," and the audience was digging the whole shtick. But Typhoon Rosie was determined to wipe them and their audience off the face of the mountain.I stood there last Saturday completely soaked, from head to toe, trying to get this all on film. Flea stood in front of his amp, listening for some sound. He was worried that the audience couldn't hear anything either. People on both sides of the stage shouted for the band to get off. A crew of 10 men struggled to keep one side of the stage's roof from collapsing.This was the end of the show for the Chili Peppers and for everyone. After only 45 minutes, the band announced that the situation was getting too dangerous, before playing "Give It Away Now," and running, and I mean running off the stage. Immediately, announcements came over the PA asking people who were not camping on the mountain for the night to try to leave as quickly and safely as possible.It was about 9:30 p.m. We trudged through the mud back to our tent -- past hordes of people scrambling to get out of there -- to survey the damage. It was still raining out, but the inside of our tent was dry. We decided to celebrate our good fortune by hitting some of the bars that set up tents on the mountain.But the club tent was shut down -- turned into a refugee camp for tentless masses who had begun setting up camp there mid-afternoon. So, we wandered in the rain. People who were not holed up in their tents looked for something to eat, something to drink, or both. Some kids, who appeared to have given up, were laying their sleeping bags on the ground in the cold, soaking rain. We talked to the people at club Milk, who still seemed happy to be there even though there were few people out making the rounds of the clubs. There is a Japanese phrase: shikata ga nai. It means "there is nothing that can be done," and this was the attitude of most of the people at the Fuji Rock Festival. Sure, everyone's hopes for the concert of the summer were dashed, and now we were preparing to spend a cold night in windy, muddy rain, but "there is nothing that can be done."DREAMING OF 'WOODSTOCK'We went to another bar on the mountain and bought a bottle of bourbon, and retired to our tent to drink ourselves to sleep.The rain and wind pounded our tent at regular intervals throughout the night. We slept in soggy sleeping bags, praying against hope that Sunday morning will bring clear skies and drying warmth. Music from the clubs played throughout the night. I dreamt of Joni Mitchell singing "Woodstock." We are roused at 8:45 a.m. by a friendly Japanese voice from outside the tent."Anyone in there? Did you hear the announcement over the loudspeaker? There was a lot of damage yesterday, and so the concert has been canceled today."A DISASTER AREAWe got up to survey the situation, and suddenly everything made sense. Of course the concert was canceled. The place was a disaster area. People were walking around in a daze. The entire area around the main stage was four inches of mud. Littering the area were the usual assortment of paper plates and cups and plastic silverware, but also shoes, clothing, discarded sleeping bags and tents. The stage itself was being dismantled. During the evening, the Levi's people had opened up the hospitality area to anyone who wanted to stay there, giving clean dry T-shirts to over 400 people who were crashed out on the floor.People were disappointed, but not distraught. Typhoon Rosie proved to be bigger than the Fuji Rock Festival, and the attitude among the people in attendance that morning suggested that although the weather was starting to clear up, and there were patches of blue sky, no one seemed anxious to try to stage day two of the festival. Among the bands that would not perform: Prodigy, Green Day, Beck, Massive Attack, Mad Professor, The Seahorses, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Squarepusher and Weezer.Caked in mud, we proceeded slowly down the mountain by bus and train, reaching central Tokyo by mid-afternoon, only a little more than a day after we had departed.The rain eventually stopped. But the remnants of my time hanging with the bands and listening to them rock through the wind and downpour at the majestic foot of Mt. Fuji will probably never go away.At least, I hope not***R 'N' R Three Dot: Squirrel Nut Zippers Go After WrigleySuddenly hot jazzers The Squirrel Nut Zippers are in talks with the Wrigley gum people to solve a dispute concerning the Zippers' song "Bad Businessman." Keith Hagan, head of publicity for the Zippers' label, Mammoth Records, told ATN the gum manufacturer approached the Zippers eight months ago with a request to use the song in a commercial. The band flatly refused, he said, and Wrigley decided to use the song anyway. Once the commercial began airing the band took quick action to get a cease and desist order squashing the unauthorized use of the track. Although the commercial, which Hagan said began airing in late May, is no longer running, "the ball is now in Wrigley's court," he said. "If nothing is resolved there will be a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Wrigley and BBDO, the ad agency that produced the commercials." Wrigley could not be reached for commentÉTrip-hopper Tricky has signed a production deal with the powerhouse Dreamworks Records, the so-far unsuccessful label started in 1994 by director Steven Spielberg, former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg and entertainment mogul David Geffen. Although Tricky will still be signed to Island Records for recording purposes, he has agreed to a deal to sign, develop and produce artists for his Durban Poison label, to be distributed by Dreamworks. No projects have been announced yet, but past Durban Poison releases have included 1996's Nearly God album, produced by Tricky and featuring vocals by Neneh Cherry, Martina, Bjrk, Alison Moyet, Terry Hall and Cath Coffey and the inaugural Durban Poison project, 1995's I Be the Prophet EP by the Starving SoulsÉThe Batman and Robin movie may have been a relative box-office let-down, but Batman Theme and 19 Hefti Bat Songs is a (BAM! POW!) smash hit. Featuring the original music from the cheesy 1960's TV series, the 20-track album reprises the unforgettable Batman theme, as well as such classic scene dressing as "Evil Plot to Blow Up Batman," "Sewer Lady," "Holy Diploma, Batman -- Straight A's!," "The Batusi," "My Fine Feathered Finks," "Senorita Boo Bam" and "Robin's Egg Blues"ÉMexico's Cafe Tacuba, one of the brightest stars among the burgeoning Rock en Espanol movement, will play a free concert in New York's Central Park on Aug. 2 to celebrate the release of Silencio = Muerte: Red Hot + Latin. Funds raised by the album -- on which the Tacubans appear playing with David Byrne -- will go to fight AIDS in Spanish speaking communities around the world. Also featured at the Central Park show will be album participants King Chango, Geggy Tah and Money Mark and Mario Caldato (of Beastie Boys fame). The concert marks one of five Cafe Tacuba appearances in the U.S. to promote their deliciously genre-warping album Avalancha de Exitos. Included among the stops is a taping of the new PBS concert series, SessionsÉNew York fans of Epitaph Records are privy to one hell of a punk-rock treat this week as the "Epitaph Summer Nationals" get underway at the Roxy. The three-night event (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) features scads of sets by Epi bands, including such heavy hitters as Pennywise, NOFX, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Humpers, New Bomb Turks and Gas Huffer. Also on the bill are several acts from Epitaph's recently launched Hellcat imprint, such as Hepcat, Slackers and U.S. Bombs. In 1994, the label hosted a similar concert series in Los Angeles; the New York staging marks the first time the event has been held on the East CoastÉ.Quote (Unquote): "Brit-pop is like an internationalist Republican movement or something, i'n'it? Anyone who waves a flag at me can fuck off. Brit-pop is shit. I've never been impressed by it for God's sake. I think it's always kind of desperate when people get nationalistic." -- Bobby Gillespie, singer for Primal Scream.(ATN's Senior Writer Gil Kaufman and Staff Writer Chris Nelson compiled this report.) ***Funny Business At The Lilith FairAddicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : As if hearty ticket sales, glowing reviews and cover stories on Time and Entertainment Weekly weren't enough evidence of the Lilith Fair's success, another palpable measure rested in the relaxed atmosphere that pervaded the press conference before Tuesday's outing at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.Organizer and headliner Sarah McLachlan had very little explaining to do about this inaugural staging of the woman-centered festival. Rather, she filled the session by counting victories, giving thanks, and joking with tour participants Joan Osborne, Abra Moore and Once Blue's Rebecca Martin.Indeed, having long since proved the artistic and social merits of Lilith, humor was the order of the day in Maryland. As tour newcomers Moore and Martin discussed what they expected from Lilith, Osborne interrupted: "So you guys haven't been inducted into the witches' coven yet?"Osborne later deadpanned to a local TV news reporter about the artists mud wrestling on tour and was admonished by McLachlan, "Sshh, that's backstage."The festival founder also affirmed her penchant for being just as gross as any an adolescent male. Asked if she had tried pore-cleansing cosmetic strips being handed free to fans by Lilith sponsor Biore, McLachlan replied, "Yes I have. It takes all the nasties out of your nose."Groans and laughter rose from all around when the Canadian songstress described the strip's visible results as "long tendrils, like stalactites."Naturally, there was also some serious business to attend to. McLachlan presented a check for $17,000 to Rachel's Women Center, a Washington, D.C. homeless shelter. She also confirmed that the Lilith Fair will continue with her participation next year, and will likely expand its lineup to also include men. In addition, the songwriter said that tour management is working on releasing a live CD to be culled from the tour ("We're gonna need a box set," said McLachlan only half kidding), and hopes to film several shows for a TV or film documentary.Osborne predicted more far reaching ramifications stemming from Lilith. "The tour is really destroying the preconceived notion that you can't have more than one woman on the same bill," Osborne said. "The success of this festival is blowing that notion out of the water, and I think you're going to see a little bit different way of structuring tours in the future."If Tuesday's audience was any indication, bills focused on women will certainly sell. Baltimore's Rick Henson, age 26, called the Lilith Fair "Probably the best thing I've seen in a long time." He and friend Chris McKenzie, 25, said they owned CDs by at least four of the participating artists.Nineteen-year-old Aimee Lundstrom of Bowie, Md. said that she would buy a ticket for next year's festival contingent upon the strength of the acts rather than their gender. "If the lineup's still good, I'll come," she said. "It's really the type of music that I like. I hope that they can add male performers that believe in female empowerment."Lundstrom's friend Kim Harden, also 19, agreed. "We saw Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper [on the same bill]. We went to see both of them. It doesn't matter to me whether they're women, as long as both of the groups are good."Parents like Bernadette Tapman and Dennis Debus believe that the Lilith lineup makes for good family entertainment. Both brought pre-adolescent children to Tuesday's concert. "This is the first one I felt comfortable taking my daughter to," said Tapman.Perhaps the most satisfying element amid all the attention this festival has received is that its bill truly is one of the strongest on the road. Despite the fact that heavy-hitter Tracy Chapman has finished her stint on the tour, the main stage at Merriweather offered up one engaging set after another.Fiona Apple and her "Spice Boys" got the show underway with an animated early evening performance that included the hits "Shadowboxer" and "Sleep To Dream," as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel." During several songs she stomped around the stage to the band's rhythm, bending over and dropping her head down to her waist, then bringing it back up with a great wash of her long hair. Apple dramatically commanded her space, at one point taking shelter beneath the piano, at others screaming and shouting though she was nowhere near a microphone.Osborne, complete with a sky-blue dye job, then hit the stage early for a romp through her own Stones-y "Right Hand Man," that seemed appropriately cut shorter than the tedious album version. In a set that featured several new songs, the highlight was the older "St. Teresa." Here the overwhelming bass and rim shots on the drum worked their way into a hypnotic pattern, serving as an instrumental Rosary mantra over which Osborne prayed with her lyrics.It was Jewel, however, who stole Tuesday's show. After more than a year of extensive touring, the Alaskan singer has matured significantly as a performer on big stages. Whereas 14 months ago she joked nervously during an opening slot in a summer shed, Jewel now rules that space confidently, even (especially?) in front of a sold out crowd of 15,000. Moreover, she's strengthened her arrangements. On "You Were Meant For Me," for example, an organ and cello added warmth amid the song's melancholy, but in doing so also accented the hurt inherent in the melody.Of course, it was McLachlan's show to close, and she mixed hits from Fumbling Toward Ecstasy ("Hold On," "Good Enough") with new material from her recently released #2 album Surfacing. Though McLachlan's soulful performance was not as enthralling as Jewel's, the crowd was nonetheless thrilled to see the woman who had made the whole day possible."I'm proud to share the stage with these performers," McLachlan said--and why shouldn't she be? She has created the one festival show that's an overwhelming success in this summer's crowded tour market.As McLachlan herself said earlier in the day, "If a tour like this wasn't successful, I'd be deeply disappointed in humanity. I think the bill in any given city is way, way too strong [to fail]."