ATN's Music News of the World: Beastie Blasts Clinton
Beastie Boy Blasts Clinton at Tibet RallyAs president meets Chinese leader, thousands join Beastie's Buddhist bassist in call for freedom.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Chinese President Jiang Zemin met with President Bill Clinton privately in the White House on Wednesday to discuss everything from trade to international relations, Adam Yauch stood calmly across the street in Lafayette Park speaking in his characteristic soft-spoken voice about freedom.Even as he stressed the importance of people "raising as much noise about human rights as we can," the Beastie Boy and Buddhist convert made little on his own. Instead, he remained focused on the issues at hand."We're here to try to remind the president that human rights are to be at the forefront of all negotiations with China," Yauch told Addicted To Noise, his hands tucked into a blue fleece pullover. "We need to make human rights issues the number-one priority in everything we deal with. It's unacceptable to put that on the back burner for big business."Yauch was in Washington along with film star and fellow Buddhist Richard Gere and several thousand activists to call on Clinton to take concrete steps to address what they say are persistent human rights abuses perpetuated by the Chinese government at home and in Tibet, which China has occupied since 1949. Wednesday's U.S.-Sino summit marked the first state visit by a Chinese official since their military killed hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989."We can't underestimate the value of what Tibetan culture has to provide for the rest of the world," Yauch said, his back partially turned from the White House.Later, addressing the crowd of close to 5,000 from a stage adorned with a replica of the Tiananmen Square Statue of Liberty, the punk-rap bassist said, "Humanity has reached a crossroads. We've come to a point in time where with our technology we can destroy ourselves. While we've been modernizing ourselves, we haven't actually modernized our way of thinking, our understanding of the interdependence of everything. Those lessons are within Tibetan culture. Most of our problems aren't due to the machines we have -- they're due to the greed that's motivating our entire society," Yauch said, drawing rousing applause.For two summers running, Yauch has organized the all-star Tibetan Freedom Concert through the Milarepa Fund, the organization he founded in 1994 to raise funds to assist the Tibetan people in their quest for freedom. The Tibetan Freedom Concert album -- a three-disc, 32-track set featuring the likes of the Beastie Boys, Patti Smith, Lee Scratch Perry, the Fugees and Pavement -- lands in stores Nov. 4. A film documentary of the event called Free Tibet is scheduled to tour movie houses this winter, along with a number of other movies focusing on the plight of the Tibetan people.The protest drew activists from across the political spectrum in calling for democracy in China and Tibet: Conservative Christians joined Buddhist monks to demand religious freedom; the AFL-CIO called for fair labor practices, while the Sierra Club, an environmental organization, assailed the displacement of citizens by the Three Gorges Dam. Gere introduced as "my hero" former Chinese dissident Harry Wu, who then assailed Beijing for allegedly profiting by executing more of its people yearly than all other nations combined, then selling their organs on the world market.Fugazi's Ian MacKaye was also on hand for the demonstration. The hometown hardcore hero said on a personal level, he came down to offer Yauch moral support, but added that "It just seemed like a really logical place to be this afternoon.""It's certainly an issue -- whether it's easily resolved or not -- that deserves a lot more attention than it's getting," said MacKaye, who in the past decade has logged countless hours at protests in the nation's capital. "I think at this point just taking the time to read about the situation would be an enormous help. I think anyone who starts looking into it will find their own passions about it. It just seems really obvious -- a clear, clear unfortunate situation."Fugazi, he added, may play at next summer's Tibetan Freedom Concert (though that's likely to jibe with the band's stringent politics only if the concert is a free event), which is slated to be held in Washington, D.C. Yauch declined to offer any details about the concert, but said the show is "definitely happening."The Beastie's head Buddhist was not nearly so shy, however, when it came to addressing presidents Clinton and Zemin. "I'd like to remind President Clinton who he works for and who hired him," Yauch said from the stage, his voice echoing across the lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "It's not the corporations that have donated money to his campaigns. It's not the big business interests that he's trying to move forward in China."Then, he added, perhaps losing his cool for just a moment, "How dare President Clinton go into negotiations about selling nuclear technology to China without having human rights on the forefront of that issue."***Counting Crows Make Plans For Third AlbumLeader Adam Duritz fairly certain album will once again be recorded in Hollywood Hills.Addicted To Noise Senior Editor Matt Melucci reports : For Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, home these days is the Hollywood Hills.That's where the longtime Bay Area resident lives now, where many of his friends are; and it's where his band intends to squirrel itself away once again to record their next album sometime next year, said the 33-year-old singer/songwriter."I suppose we'll be heading back to renting a house there to record," Duritz said on the phone from Los Angeles, of the mega-successful power-pop band's plans to get to work on an as-yet untitled third album in a private house in the Hollywood Hills. "Hollywood is my home now. It's where I live."It's also where he apparently finds creative inspiration.Pleased with the production process and musical energy that went into their last record, Duritz said he and the Counting Crows will conduct their recording sessions much like those that gave birth to the band's platinum-selling sophomore release Recovering The Satellites (1996). Once again, they plan to rent a home in the Hills and stay there until they're done. In fact, Duritz said he wouldn't be surprised to see producer Gil Norton behind the controls again.And don't expect any major sonic surprises from the melody-driven rockers, he added, explaining that the growing influence of electronica and techno on today's music has had little impact on his style.The dread-locked songwriter has already written one new tune, "Barely Out Of Tuesday," which the band has performed on its current tour and which will in all likelihood end up on the next release. "It's a midtempo type of song and feels pretty much like the music we do," guitarist David Bryson said, backstage after a recent gig at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. "We also have a few ideas kicking around for other tunes."With the Counting Crows, one general rule typically holds true, Duritz said: If he writes it, they record it."I don't usually write spare songs," Duritz said. "If I complete something that we play on tour, it usually finds a place somewhere on an album."The Counting Crows' guitar-driven sound can best be described as a hybrid of Van Morrison and mid-'80s era R.E.M. From the band's early hit "Round Here" off their breakthrough debut August and Everything After, to the more reflective "Have You Seen Me Lately," from the new one, Duritz has established himself as a songwriter who draws heavily from life experience.His songs have in the past three years ranged from emotional tales of love and loss, to highly introspective tunes which address the struggles of life on the road and the conflicts that come with fame.The soft-spoken singer has repeatedly spoken about his difficulties adapting to life in the spotlight in interviews and in live performances. The conflicts have caused him to alter lyrics in some older songs to suit his new perspective. These days, for instance, when he sings the band's breakthrough hit "Mr. Jones," a song about dreaming of fame, he has updated the words to reflect the experiences of one who has seen success and realized it's not all that. "A song like 'Mr. Jones' is still meaningful in many ways, though not germane to my life," said Duritz. "I definitely wanted to be a star. But I've already realized the recognizeability."Still, things are getting better, he added. While Duritz said he's had problems in the past walking around his old stomping grounds of Berkeley, Calif. since the Counting Crows found stardom, he said he more recently toured the main university strip of Telegraph Avenue with a few friends pretty much hassle free.Whether the new album will continue to paint the portrait of a man in conflict with his success is anyone's guess. Apparently, even for Duritz."I don't like to think about what something is going to sound like," he said. "I just have not thought about it. A record is the book of your life. I would just rather do it piece by piece and see what happens."For Duritz, whose parents and friends took the drive down to the Shoreline last month to welcome him back, little has changed in the past year, except perhaps his command of the stage. Countless hours on the road, performing for thousands each night and trying to live up to expectations while fending off criticisms that, as Duritz recalled, labeled him, among other things, "a whiner" has matured the band leader.Despite having only recently broken up with his girlfriend of two years, Duritz, who has also begun a small indie label, E Pluribus Unum, seemed optimistic about his future and that of the Counting Crows. Though he has plans to produce a few bands as side projects, when it comes to making music, he's got a one-track mind, he said."It's hard to see myself with any other band really," Duritz explained. "Sure you could play with a lot of great musicians, but playing a song is a different thing than playing an instrument."It's been a long year for the Counting Crows, and there's reason to believe it's coming to a close as the band heads into a final college-town tour of the Midwest this month, films an MTV live concert performance and, perhaps, heads out for a final tour of Europe before shutting down everything by Christmas.The band is also considering opening for the Rolling Stones in Europe for the Bridges To Babylon tour, which would find them joining the select list of mega acts recruited by Mick Jagger and gang, which includes Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins. "If they want us along, we'll go," Duritz said, adding that that would be the band's main motivation to travel overseas."Remember, we are really tired," he said. "It's been a stressful year for everyone."***Metallica's "Re-Load" Ready For ReleaseFans say little they've heard of 13-track CD sounds like sequel to last brooding album.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : He hasn't been privy to much -- just a few sound samples here and there -- but so far Metallica fan Ryan Poore likes what he's heard from the band's soon-to-be-released album Re-Load (Nov. 18)."I haven't heard the whole single yet," said the 23-year-old Utah native and webmaster of the unofficial "Land of Sorrow" Metallica site, about "The Memory Remains," which features backing vocals from '60s singer Marianne Faithfull. "But the bits and pieces I've heard on MTV and some samples on the 'net from their studio sound great."Bob Rock, the veteran studio wizard (Veruca Salt, Motley Crue) who co-produced Re-Load (as well as Load) with singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, said that songs on the new album even top the Load material. "The strongest ones definitely weren't put out first [on Load]," Bob Rock told Addicted To Noise this summer. "There were some pretty strong songs on Load. It was really what the band wanted to put out first; it was a matter of choice. We were going to do the whole thing [as a two CD set], but we discovered it was just too much work for the band to cut, overdub and finish properly."Even though Poore's "not very familiar" with Faithfull, based on the bits he's heard, he said the new album "sounds a lot like the last one," referring to 1996's Load. That's OK with him, even if that album "doesn't compare to their old stuff, which was heavier and faster," he said. "It's just a different style of music."Re-Load is a 13-track sequel of sorts to the band's previous album. Featuring songs that were recorded during the Load sessions, but not used at the time, the tracks are said to have a similar feel to that album's brooding darkness. Singer James Hetfield has even hinted in interviews that a few of the tracks are sharp retorts to detractors who've criticized the metal-born band for everything from cutting their hair to playing 1996's Lollapalooza.The track listing for Re-Load is: "Fuel," "The Memory Remains," "Devil's Dance," "The Unforgiven II," "Better Than You," "Slither," "Carpe Diem Baby," "Bad Seed," "Where the Wild Things Are," "Prince Charming," "Low Man's Lyric," "Attitude" and "Fixxxer."Rock said he feels that Metallica are the definitive '90s hard rock band. "Once you do [produce] Metallica, where do you go?" he wondered. "They are the band."Metallica played its first-ever acoustic sets on Oct. 18 and 19 at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit Concert in Mountain View, Calif., debuting the dirgey, moody "Low Man's Lyric," on which they were accompanied by a hurdy gurdy player.With the once metal heavy band having crossed-over to alternative radio with the last album's singles "Until It Sleeps" and "King Nothing," programmers at both rock and alternative outlets seem eager to hear the sequel. "Metallica are a core artist for us," said Steve Kingston, program director at WXRK (92.3 FM), New York's K-ROCK radio station, sister to the influential alternative powerhouse, L.A.-based KROQ. "We're more rock-oriented than the L.A. station, but once we've heard it, I couldn't imagine we wouldn't play the new song as soon as it comes in."Kingston said he thought the band's stint on Lollapalooza may have been what convinced some alternative program directors to add them to alternative radio, but he decried many of those same programmers' decisions to "drop them because they saw the band as another flavor-of-the-month band."Meanwhile, Poore, a long-time fan of the band, said, despite not having heard the entire album yet, he doesn't consider Re-load to be "a leftovers album."He did, however, get an interesting response from fellow Metallica fans about the acoustic set at the Bridge benefit. "I was surprised when I ran the poll," he said. "Most people said they didn't want to hear the band play acoustic because they didn't think most of their songs could go acoustic and sound good."Still claiming that nobody will give them permission to do a free show next month in support of their album, the band says it is keeping its eyes for a venue for the Nov. 11 gig. According to a press release issued Tuesday, they have received more than 100,000 calls to a special 800-number and some 20,000 e-mails. The venue is scheduled to be announced by the end of this week.