ATN's Music News of the World: Dueling Dylans
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder Psyched For New LPSays he is also looking forward to touring with rest of the anti-TicketMaster bunch.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : With a new Pearl Jam album on its way and the Seattle rockers already making a foray into the live concert scene, frontman Eddie Vedder has a lot to look forward to, and, he'll tell you, perhaps even more to be thankful for."This has been the best year of my life," Vedder told the Los Angeles Times' Robert Hilburn Friday, after PJ's soundcheck on the opening night of a four-gig stand with the Stones in Oakland, Calif. "I feel like I've really gotten a lot of things together. I'm even looking forward to touring."During a rare interview with the Times before Pearl Jam took the stage, Vedder briefly discussed the band's fifth album (due out Feb. 3). He not only said that the year in which Yield was recorded was a banner period for him, but added that he's eager to get back on the road -- a surprising sentiment in light of the troubles that have beset past Pearl Jam tours as they've tried to stage outings without the help of TicketMaster."We talked about touring this year, but we didn't want to lock ourselves in the studio with a timetable," Vedder said. "We wanted to give ourselves time in and out of the studio to let everyone come up with songs and lyrics and to have some time for themselves, and it worked great. During one stretch, we came up with something like 32 songs."Last week a select number of fans witnessed the live debut of several songs from Yield when Pearl Jam played a surprise show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, Calif. The band included those tunes -- the first single "Given to Fly," as well as "Wish List," "Brain of J" and "Do the Evolution" -- over the course of their Friday and Saturday shows with the Stones before 50,000 fans (many of whom were as excited to see Pearl Jam as they were the venerable forebears).Vedder said the new tracks continue along the path established by last year's No Code album, which was critically hailed as adventurous but whose quiet moments of introspection did not strike as passionate a chord with some fans. "To me, the new album is a natural progression from No Code," Vedder told the Times. "I love that album, but I found myself waiting in a couple of places for some more up-tempo numbers. This time, a lot of the songs start off quiet, but then they lift up."Caryn Rose, co-webmaster of the Five Horizons Pearl Jam Internet fanzine, said another album in the vein of No Code would be a Godsend to her. "I'm glad to hear him talk about the album like that," said Rose, who maintains the 5H site from the band's hometown of Seattle. "What I had been hearing from people is that they're gonna go back to [Pearl Jam's breakthrough debut] Ten. If they went back to Ten I would have been extremely disappointed. No Code is PJ finally starting to realize their promise. They're just starting to be more confident about what they have to say and being willing to take chances on it."Having had the chance to hear "Do the Evolution" for the first time from the eighth row of the Oakland Coliseum Friday, Rose, 33, added that she almost couldn't believe her ears. "I couldn't talk, I couldn't breathe," she said. "I started hyperventilating and my heart just stopped. My body just went, 'Oh my God, what is this?' It's that good."In addition to Vedder's comments, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament told the Times that the band's sometimes off-kilter touring and recording regimen ultimately results in more music for the fans. "It's just the way we choose to work. Some bands are in your face all the time," he said. "In videos, magazines, McDonald's ads, whatever, but then they'll only put out an album every three years or so. We put out a record every year or year and a half. So it's a question of what do you want to end up with every three years or so -- 30 songs or 10 songs and all the other stuff?"The band will launch its tour in support of the new album on Feb. 20 in Hawaii before heading to Australia. Pearl Jam will then return to mainland United States for a series of concerts throughout the country.***New & Cool: Space Monkeys' Punk-Techno Rock Explosion"Sugar Cane" sweet enough to send frontman Richard McNevin-Duff and band on first U.S. tour.Addicted To Noise's correspondent Jon Vena reports : As far as he's concerned, Space Monkeys lead singer/ guitarist Richard McNevin-Duff could do without all the hype.In fact, his Manchester-based Space Monkeys have purposely dodged what they see as the poisoned music press in their native U.K., he added, because "good bands get lost too often" with the change-by-day, front-cover trends established by New Musical Express and Melody Maker.However, thanks to a curiously infectious single, "Sugar Cane" (RealAudio excerpt), the time has come for 26-year-old McNevin-Duff and the Space Monkeys, and, whether they like it or not, the hype is knocking on their door. Luckily for him, however, McNevin-Duff is sneaking out the back way, preparing himself and his band for their first-ever American tour, which kicks off at the end of this month in New York."I can't wait to come to America, to see if we can work hard enough to make some sort of dent in the system," said McNevin-Duff, calling from the front office of the U.K.-based Factory Records label, whose owner, Tony Wilson, signed the Space Monkeys after their first-ever performance, a 1994 basement gig at the infamous Hacienda. (Wilson, it should be noted, is already assured a place in rock history for signing Joy Division.)Three years later, the Space Monkeys find themselves on the proverbial hit-machine Interscope label, and with a cross-genre list of radio stations already pounding "Sugar Cane" on their playlists, it looks like the Space Monkeys could become the latest reason for Time-Warner stockholders to kick themselves. Time-Warner sold off its interest in Interscope following public pressure over the label's hard rock and gangsta rap."It'll be wild, performing at all of these places we've only seen in the movies," McNevin-Duff said, adding that it's always been his dream to perform in America. With a smirk, he added, "We'd like to get booked at Cape Canaveral for New Year's Eve 1999."If McNevin-Duff does seem a tad jaded by American culture -- he name drops "Pac Man," Bladerunner, "Hong Kong Phooey" and Grandmaster Flash in "Sugar Cane" alone -- it's because he is. The Daddy Of Them All, the Space Monkeys' debut American record, features numerous references to Yankee pop culture, plus samples of mega-U.S. rappers Public Enemy and the Wu-Tang Clan to boot. American hip-hop, McNevin-Duff said, has had a tremendous influence on his music, aside from the fact it just happened to be what the Space Monkeys were listening to when they produced their record."We never knew you had to get permission for sampling," McNevin-Duff said. "We just took stuff that sounded right or said something we liked and threw it into our songs. It's forced us to go and find more underground, unprotected sounds to use in our music."I haven't heard from Public Enemy or Wu-Tang personally, but I hear they're into the sound," he added. "And that's great, because they just aren't rappers -- P.E. and Wu-Tang are bands, and they put a lot into their music and their sound."What the Space Monkeys put into their sound is a blatant mix of acid house, dance and pop, with strong guitar hooks and percussion sets. The first track on their album, "Acid House Killed Rock and Roll" (RealAudio excerpt), completely contemplates itself by transforming its rock elements in fusing sampled guitars and jungle beats, while on "Let It Shine" McNevin-Duff, keyboardist DJ Tony Pipes, bassist Dom Morrison and drummer Chas Morrison borrow a page or two from the Stone Roses Madchester pop sound.While "Sugar Cane" steps more in the direction political dance-punk pop stars Chumbawamba have taken in their smash hit "Tubthumping," most of The Daddy Of Them All is haphazard yet careful, from the deep ambiance in "Sweetest Dream" to the chorus-laden "Smile America." And like Chumbawamba, the Space Monkeys are all about genre mixing, blending wisps of acid house and sample-heavy rhythms into traditional British trends such as shoegazing rock and post-Beatles pop.Think Oasis meets EMF. Better yet, think Oasis meets EMF, with a steel-cage match with electronica-rock darlings the Prodigy to decide who gets to keep the DJ.In just a few weeks, the Space Monkeys will do battle in a small club tour across America, with a few radio-station-sponsored Christmas shows thrown in for balance. It's just the second stateside trip for the band, which traveled to New York three weeks ago to work with producer David LaChapelle on the video for "Sugar Cane."One of the Space Monkeys' first gigs will be a radio-station-sponsored "low-dough" show at The Saint in Asbury Park, N.J."We're expecting a huge crowd that night," says Saint owner Scott Stamper, whose club holds just about 200 people. "These little bands pop by here in the winter, and once the summer comes, they end up down the street at the giant clubs."With these Space Monkeys, it looks like we're getting them just as they explode."At least that's what McNevin-Duff is hoping for -- without all the hype that is.***Dueling Dylans (Bob And Jakob) Rock Corporate WorldFolky father and alterna.son give corporate workers rare performance, but in separate acts.Addicted To Noise's Randy Reiss reports : SAN JOSE, Calif. -- As corporate get-togethers go, this was not your average Silicon Valley schmooze-fest.Then again, it's not every day Bob Dylan and his son perform on the same bill. Even more unusual, is the politically motivated '60s-era spokesman and his kid did it for a group of CEOs, white-collar workers and their staff.Still, Nathan Wolfson, 29, a systems analyst for Applied Materials, which threw the party, said that Friday's special engagement at the San Jose Arena featuring Dylan and the Wallflowers, who are led by frontman and Dylan offspring, Jakob, " ... was the only such gathering that my wife agreed to attend with me."Sure, there was free food and an open bar. As one would expect, high office holders stood up and made motivational speeches to their gathered minions. A video lauding the corporation's achievements was even screened so that everyone could see how their hard work was paying off.But where most corporate gatherings were already peetering out, Applied Materials' 30th anniversary party was just getting hot with the Wallflowers, who took a break from their tour in support of Bringing Down the Horse to play such hits as "One Headlight" and "Three Marlenas" for the gathered stuffed shirts.Celebrating 30 years in the superconductor business, the corporation rewarded its employees' hard work by staging the private concert, the first ever featuring the father and son on the same stage. While their co-workers in Austin, Texas were celebrating with funky keyboardist Stevie Wonder, the Silicon Valley crew were noshing on celery sticks and dip while wondering if the fabled folk legend would join his up-and-coming son for a song or two."It was definitely the big question of the evening," Wolfson said. "It wasn't really clear before the show if they were playing separate sets or not, so there was quite a buzz." When the Wallflowers played their hour-long set and papa Dylan didn't appear, the crowd just resigned itself to the fact that they would be witnessing two different Dylans and not rock 'n' roll history. "Everyone was like 'That would have been cool,'" Wolfson said. "But, hey, Dylan has his own scene and nobody seemed to be disappointed."While Applied Materials employees chosen in the company's lottery and a few fans lucky enough to scalp a ticket or two outside the arena that night were no doubt thrilled to be a part of the exclusive engagement, tickets were not available to the public.The elder Dylan started off his set with the driving folk-rock number, "Maggie's Farm" (off 1965's Bringing It All Back Home), a move which some might consider the equivalent of inviting Johnny Paycheck to your workplace and having him lead your employees in a rousing rendition of "Take This Job And Shove It!""Maggie's Farm" ends with the verse: "Well I try my best to be just like I am/ But everybody wants you to be just like them/ They say sing while you slave and I just get bored/ I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more." Wolfson, a big Dylan fan, noted that "[While it] is a common opener at present, it felt nicely ironic in that corporate setting."While Dylan and his band ran through such classics as "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," "Highway 61 Revisited," "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Forever Young," many Applied Materials employees drifted off into the night, happy to have seen the living legend on stage again."I would say that when it started, the arena was about three-quarters full," Wolfson recalled, "but by the end of Dylan's set, they were at about 60 percent of capacity."