ATN's Music News of the World: The Return of the Dead
Jerry Garcia-less band plans to play alternate versions of its hits on upcoming Furthur Festival.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : What do you call a group composed of former Grateful Dead members whose set includes covers of Grateful Dead songs? The Other Ones.That's the name that ex-Dead members singer/guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and percussionist Mickey Hart will use this summer when they headline the Furthur Festival tour.And while it could never be the Grateful Dead without guitarist/singer Jerry Garcia, who passed away in 1995, the Other Ones are not trying to pass themselves off as the Dead, according to spokesman Dennis McNally, who handled press for the Dead for many years, and now speaks for the new group. The Other Ones, which features nearly all of surviving members of the Dead, plans to play alternate versions of some of the Dead's best-loved songs.In addition to Weir, Lesh and Hart, the Other Ones will include sometime Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby, guitarist Stan Franks, saxophonist Dave Ellis and second drummer John Molo. McNally said the new group does not consider this a Dead "reunion." McNally said that the mostly reunited group would be playing a style of show similar to the one played last Friday at San Francisco's Fillmore, by a group billed as "Phil Lesh and Friends" that included Lesh and Weir."They were jazzy, lengthy, improvisational approaches" to such Dead staples as "Dark Star" and "Ripple" (RealAudio excerpt), McNally said of the Fillmore show. There was rabid pre-show speculation among Deadheads that the gig would be a full-fledged reunion of the surviving Dead, but that was not the case. "The Grateful Dead were an idea more than a band," McNally said. "This is a continuation of that idea with some of the same elements and some new ones. This isn't the Beach Boys."Some Dead fans were understandably vocal about the sold-out gig, including fan Charlie Dirksen, who posted his comments about the gig on the rec.music.gdead newsgroup under the heading "One of the worst 'professional' concerts I have ever seen."While Dirksen praised the setlist, which featured such gems as "Sugaree" and "Mountains of the Moon," he lamented that guest guitarist Franks "would zone out completely whenever he took a lame solo -- heavy with the sort of licks your friend used to play in high school -- and miss any cue from anyone to knock it off."Dirksen had equally unfavorable things to say about Ratdog (Weir's side band) saxophonist Ellis, who Dirksen felt clashed with Weir throughout the show. "No matter how excited you get looking at the setlist ... fear the tapes. Expect to hear the absolute worst covers of Dead songs you've ever heard," he wrote.Dirksen, who later said that he took a lot of heat for posting his honest feelings, said he was excited about the Other Ones and that, in general, people in the "[Grateful Dead] Community" are very excited about the Other Ones.The impromptu set saw some of the musicians relying on lyric and music sheets, according to Dirksen.Another fan, who goes by the name Xian, said the show was not all that bad. Responding to Dirksen's review, Xian wrote, "In one sense I respect your attempt to surgically extract the pure musical/instrumental achievements of this first-time-out-of-the-gate format band, but mostly I think it's impossible."The live reunion of the Dead members Friday night was kicked off, according to McNally, by a December benefit for Lesh's charitable organization, The Unbroken Chain Foundation. At the Christmas sing-along "Philharmonia" benefit in December, which raised funds for a number of charities in the depressed Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, Hornsby apparently first tried to convince Lesh -- who sat out most Furthur Festival shows -- to get back on the road. "I know that Bruce [Hornsby] and I at that time encouraged him to tour," McNally said. "His family agreed, so he started thinking about it then and decided in January or February, and it came together."Another fan, who went by the name Des, is only glad that Lesh has decided to get back on the road. "OK, it wasn't a reunion of the remaining members of the Dead," he wrote of the recent show. "But it was a great show -- for what it was." The fan, who had many of the same musical complaints as Dirksen, said he was also looking forward to the addition of Hart and Hornsby to the ensemble.As to why Dead drummer Kreutzmann -- whose addition would have completed the Garcia-less Dead lineup -- would not be joining the group for the summer tour, McNally said, "Billy [Kreutzmann ] just decided he didn't want to tour on a heavy, month-long tour." But, the Dead being the Dead, "life's always open," McNally said.***Marilyn Manson Endorses Net CensorshipCalls the spreading of rumors on the Internet "really strange and dangerous."Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : If you happened to tune into National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program recently, you probably caught some harsh criticism of the Internet. One particular opponent not only deemed the Net a "dangerous tool," but also seemed to look forward to a day when the government would regulate cyber-speech.So who was the critic? Conservative crusader William Bennett? An official from a parental watchdog group?Actually, it was none other than shock-rocker and free-speech proponent Marilyn Manson.During a Feb. 24 interview to promote his recently released memoir, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Manson was queried by host Terry Gross about false rumors that have flourished concerning his live performances. The singer then described allegations that he would lower a cage full of children into the audience for beatings, or that he sent agents into the crowd to disperse drugs among youth."Because [the rumors were] on the Internet, people believed it, which is really strange and dangerous," Manson said.The singer -- whose latest release, Remix and Repent, contains live songs and new interpretations from his 1996 album, Antichrist Superstar -- then went on to denounce the Net for its ability to spread information on a grass-roots level, and anticipated government regulation to stop rumor-mongering."In the wrong hands, the Internet can be a dangerous tool," he said. "It's the CB radio of the '90s, but it's being interpreted as a legitimate source of news, which it's not. I think eventually there will be some sort of laws that will deal with that."Manson's censure of the Internet came as a surprise to some who watched last year as he repeatedly invoked his own First Amendment rights to perform in the face of public opposition.The Antichrist Superstar tour was dogged by critics, some of whom simply denounced Manson's music, others of whom tried to bar the singer from performing in their community. In nearly all cases, Manson was allowed to play on grounds that banning his concerts in public arenas because of the content of his music was a violation of the First Amendment.Neither Manson's manager nor his attorney could be reached for comment about the NPR interview.Although he did not mention specific websites that raised his ire, one would presume Manson was particularly angered by sites such as the American Family Association's Gulf Coast Chapter homepage. Last April, the singer's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the organization, ordering the group to remove from its site statements that said Manson urged his audiences to kill kittens and engage in sex during his performance. The chapter still maintains a page called the "National Clearinghouse on Marilyn Manson Concerts for Family & Decency Advocates."Manson also told Gross that he believes people will be surprised by his next album, which will not focus on his views about organized religion, a topic he feels he's exhausted."After going through what I just did in the past two years, it's almost like 'Edward Scissorhands' or 'E.T.' -- someone who feels like they're in a place where they're not accepted or don't belong," Manson said. "Often times, something that is different, that you don't understand, like a spider, you want to kill it immediately. It's more from that perspective. It's much more vulnerable music that I'm making on this new album. Both sonically and lyrically it's about the depression of alienation, rather than the aggressiveness of it. It's about the emptiness."***Lenny Kravitz's New Techno-Hippie SoundUpcoming 13-track album meshes hippie-happy lyrics with soulful riffs, beer bottles and drum loops.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : As usual, psychedelic soul child Lenny Kravitz will turn some heads with his upcoming 13-track album, Black Velveteen (May 12), only this time it will likely be for the new things the dreadlocked guitarist is doing rather than the old ones.Packed with plenty of the signature modern-hippie lyrics and soul/funk riffs that have filled previous efforts, Velveteen also finds Kravitz experimenting with some new toys on a number of tracks that are packed with drum loops, samples, mini-Moog synthesizer sounds, beer bottles-as-percussion and even some toy piano.Recorded over an eight-month period in New York and the Bahamas, Velveteen blasts off with the hammond organ- and sax-drenched funk of "Live," which brings to mind the starry-eyed cosmic slop of Kravitz's 1989 debut, Let Love Rule. The gritty soul jam, complete with the classic Kravitz refrain "do just what you wanna do/ let the sun come shining through," segues into the trippy P-Funk-style cartoon funk of "Super Soul Fighter," one of Kravitz's loosest, most freewheeling tracks to date. "Super Soul Fighter," which could be a soundtrack to a blaxploitation Saturday-morning cartoon, unfolds over bouncing Moog-bass and mini-Moog synthesizer burps behind such lines as "he's spreading funk throughout the nations and for you he will play/ electronic super-soul vibrations has come to save the day."Elsewhere, Kravitz takes similar chances with unconventional studio tricks. The sensuous, samba-like ballad "I Belong to You" is anchored by a repetitive, tinny toy-piano riff, and the dark ballad "If You Can't Say No" shuffles along on a Morse-code keyboard riff and a robotic drum-machine beat. The midtempo, classic, R&B-sounding falsetto love song "Thinking of You," a tribute to Kravitz's mother, the late actress Roxie Roker, is pushed along by rumbling slide bass and clinky percussion supplied by the aforementioned Heineken bottles.Kravitz stretches out on the dark, brooding funk of the almost trip(py)-hop of "Take Time," which is full of head-swimming acid-rock guitar and finger cymbals; the Stevie ("Superstitious") Wonder-style, wah-wah '70s rock of "It's Your Life"; and the somber, seven-plus minute "Little Girl Eyes," a birthday present for Kravitz's daughter on her ninth birthday.As usual, the multitalented Kravitz has his hands in many pies on his fifth album -- which he produced and wrote all the music and lyrics for -- playing guitar, drums, bass, hammond organ, Moog-bass, clavinet, gong, congas, synthesizers and, of course, those green Heineken bottles.The album also features the songs: "Fly Away," the cyber-sex title track, "Straight Cold Player," "You're My Flavor" and "Can We Find a Reason."