ATN's Music News of the World: Green Addictions
Green Day's Billie Joe Talks AddictionsSays while he didn't intend running drug theme in songs, he's only writing about his life.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports:SAN FRANCISCO -- Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said he never really considered that the first singles from the band's last two albums had to do with addiction of one sort or another.It's not like he's trying to make a statement or anything, the singer/songwriter added. Drugs are just something he said he knows a little about." 'Hitchin' ' is about having balance in your life and falling off the wagon," he said about "Hitchin' A Ride" (RealAudio excerpt), the violin-assisted first single from the band's new album, Nimrod, due out today (Oct. 14). Coupled with the methamphetamine nightmare track "Geek Stink Breath," from 1995's Insomniac, it makes for a pair of not-so-subtle lessons in the pitfalls of overindulgence."I guess [the drug theme] did occur to me at some point that both songs were about that, now that I think about it, but it didn't bother me. I write about my life and that happens to be one aspect of it," Armstrong said, adding that he has at times battled with addiction. "I take drugs, so do a lot of people. I don't want to be a pro- or anti-drugs advocate."Packed with a heap of the snotty-but-insightful punk tunes people have come to expect from the Berkeley, Calif. trio, Nimrod also features a number of firsts for the band, ranging from the almost speed metal track "Take Back," to the oompah punk on the cross-dressing song "King for a Day." Then there's the instrumental surf tune "Last Ride In."Another song on the album that exposes harsh realities is the blunt-edge punk rock "Prosthetic Head," which the 25-year-old Armstrong described as a song about "fake fuckers" he has to deal with in his daily life. "It's about fake, stupid people," he said. "It's about the fakeness of Hollywood. I'm a firm believer that most of the population of the world is mentally retarded and they just don't know it." Armstrong fell short, however, of painting the song as a slag of music industry weasels he's met in his travels on the road to selling more than 15 million records."It's not necessarily the music industry, but just some of the fake shit you see in Hollywood," he said. "It has a little bit of imagination to it, about imagining getting your head chopped off and putting a new one on and it rotting from the inside."While the band did experiment with strings, horns and a fuller sound on its third major-label album, the one thing it didn't mess with was the producer's chair, which for the third time was filled by Rob Cavallo. "Once you've seen somebody naked, it's kind of hard to find somebody else," said drummer Tre Cool about the band's honorary fourth member. Although the trio insisted that Cavallo ("on some crazy Hindu, meditation, spirituality, self-discovery shit," according to Cool) cavorted naked once a week in the studio, the producer said it was more than showing skin that brought him back."The band knew they needed to change and we developed some of these ideas together to a certain extent," said Cavallo, who denied the nudity charge. Cavallo said many of the conversations he had with the band during the four month recording of Nimrod were along the lines of:Cavallo: "Maybe strings would sound cool there."Green Day: "Can you make the strings sound cool there?"Cavallo: "Yeah, I think I can.""I felt like I could make these experimental things sound cool," Cavallo said, "without them taking away from what Green Day are. I just felt privileged to be a part of that process."The members of Green Day seem to feel equally privileged, with Armstrong saying the trio passed on the hot Dust Brothers "because I've seen them naked before and I don't wanna see them naked anymore," and bassist Mike Dirnt, 25, jokingly admitting that "once you got over the smell, it's not so bad."Jokes aside, though, Dirnt said the collaboration with Cavallo works simply because "he gets it."Armstrong agrees, adding "he's like a member of the band. Not only does he get naked once a week, but he understands us. Lots of bands go from producer to producer, but we've found someone and we're lucky." Realizing that that sounds almost too touchy-feely, Armstrong hastily tacks on the caveat, "Plus, he's into whatever we tell him he's into."***Jagger Illness Forces Stones' Live MTV Bow OutDavid Bowie steps up to take live spot while Jagger recovers from flu-like symptoms. Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : A day after playing yet another massive arena show on their "Bridges To Babylon" tour, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones have cancelled a much-hyped appearance on MTV's new live music program scheduled to air Tuesday (Oct. 14) so that the legendary frontman can recover from flu-like symptoms.Jagger and company notified MTV this morning (Oct. 13) that the band would have to skip the event, "Live From the 10 Spot," so that the 54-year-old singer, who is said to have a "sore throat," could spend a few days resting as per his doctor's orders. Equally legendary Brit rocker David Bowie, currently on a scaled-down theater tour, agreed to step in and play the hour-long show, which will air live from 10-11 p.m. (EST).The Stones had agreed to kickoff music television's first attempt at a live weekly concert program, which has been heavily promoted over the past few months as the medium's first regular venture into live concert music.A statement from MTV announcing the lineup change explained that: "There's a risk in presenting a weekly, live music series, but MTV is committed to and excited about taking that risk with 'Live From the 10 Spot.'" Irene Fu, a spokesperson from MTV, would not reveal the location of the Bowie set, but would only say that it will take place in an "intimate theater setting."Bowie was set to play a show at New York's Supper Club theater tonight (Oct. 13). Tuesday marks the release of his "I'm Afraid of Americans" single/EP, which features techno rockers Nine Inch Nails doing several remixes of the song and a guest rap from Ice Cube.The Thin White Duke, who was already scheduled to play the live MTV show in early December, will be performing a stripped-down version of his current theater tour set, with eight or so songs culled from his career, according to Mitch Schneider of MSO, Bowie's publicity firm. Meanwhile, the Stones have been rescheduled to appear on "Live From the 10 Spot" a week from Saturday at 8 p.m., according to MTV, which has scheduled most other performances for Tuesdays.Fran Curtis, U.S. publicist for the Rolling Stones, said Jagger had been feeling ill for several days and decided to cancel the MTV appearance because "the band didn't feel it could give the show their audience deserves."Ironically, the show swap between the Stones and Bowie comes at a time when both artists are in the midst of attempts to rejuvenate sluggish recording careers. The Stones, still one of the premier concert draws in rock, brought in hot shot producers the Dust Brothers (Beck, Hanson) and Babyface (Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton), whose contribution was later scrapped, to pump up their sound on their recently-released album, Bridges to Babylon. Similarly, Bowie experimented with drum and bass sounds on his latest album, Earthling.In another stab at experimentation, Bowie eschewed the mid-sized venues he has played in the past to play more intimate ballrooms and theaters on his current, critically-acclaimed tour, which wraps-up in mid-October.In addition to leading musical careers that have established each as rock icons, Jagger and Bowie teamed in 1985 to re-record Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" for a top-10 single whose proceeds benefited famine relief.The Stones last played a show on Sunday night in Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium. Their next scheduled gig is at Giants Stadium in New Jersey on Thursday."Live From the 10 Spot" will feature Wyclef Jean of the Fugees next week, as well as a number of gigs from the newly-re-furbished Hammerstein Ballroom in New York (where Oasis just played two shows), including sets from the reunited Jane's Addiction, the Counting Crows and a December show from Radiohead.***David Was Forms Label With X-Files CreatorCo-founder of Was (Not Was) teams with paranormal producer to release more soundtracks from TV show.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : The truth is out there, goes the X-Files mantra.Soon, more soundtracks from the popular TV show's creator Chris Carter will be out there, too.Carter, who collaborated with producer/ recording artist David Was on the paranormal series' Songs In the Key of X album last year, will soon launch his own label with Was. Dubbed Ten Thirteen Records after Carter's production company, Was said the plan is to release more soundtracks from the Carter's TV shows, as well as music from an upcoming X-Files movie and other albums."We would have gone and done the same thing by one-offing another soundtrack deal for the X-Files movie next summer," said Was, co-founder of the band now-defunct Was (Not Was), and an Addicted To Noise columnist."Then Chris and I started talking. I said, 'Look, there's all these cockamamie Hollywood types who do one 'music-driven picture' and then get an imprint somewhere. You're Chris Carter, motherfucker! There're people who'd be happy to eat your leftovers out of a garbage can. You've got two series on the air, a movie coming in the summer, plans for other features.' So he said, 'Hmmm, curious.' "Last year's Songs In the Key of X featured an eclectic slate of artists ranging from beat author William Burroughs with R.E.M., Meat Puppets, Frank Black, Filter, P.M. Dawn and Soul Coughing to more mainstream acts such as Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters and Sheryl Crow. Was proposed inaugurating Ten Thirteen based on that album's model of success combined with the promise of future soundtracks. "With that and our ability to attract cool artists, we might be able to hang our shingle and be a little boutique place that is doing soundtracks and whatever strikes our fancy on a mom and pop level," he said.According to Was, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan, U2's Bono, as well as classic rockers Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen are all avowed fans of the show. While those names would obviously offer big draws for soundtracks, Was said that whoever is tapped is likely to be an artist that inspires Carter creatively."This is not a guy who goes looking for stuff, then slots it into a scene that he's already written," Was said. "He's the kind of guy who hears something, it stimulates him, and then he sits down and writes while he listens, and then puts it in that scene."The pair intend to sign a partnership deal with one of the six major record labels in the next two weeks. Though details are far from shored up, Was said Ten Thirteen's first release will likely be the Millenium soundtrack album (possibly including Nine Inch Nails and Cypress Hill, whose music was used during the show's first season), to be followed by the album accompanying the July 1998 release of the X-Files movie.That X-Files movie soundtrack will be a little trickier, Was said, because music won't be featured heavily in the movie. The film will solve a cliff-hanger that ends the season in '98. "So the season preceding the film will have some music that we'll put on the album," he said. "The movie itself will probably bear no more than an opening and closing song, if even that."Was said he doesn't know whether the album will be billed as a movie or TV soundtrack, or if it will come under the increasingly familiar heading, Songs inspired by ... "We'll have to think of another clever rubric to indicate that it's actually bona fide X-Files music."