ATN's Music News of the World: Trouble at Sub Pop

LOLLAPALOOZA '97 LINE-UP 99% SETAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: The Main Stage line-up for Lollapalooza '97 is nearly complete. Tricky, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Korn are 99% set to appear on the much coveted Main Stage. Negotiations with Tool are still taking place as well.The Foo Fighters, who were previously touted as being part of the line-up "have turned it down for now," according to a source who noted that the group are concentrating on finishing their sophomore album.As has been suggested by an early list of candidates that included the Prodigy, Underworld and several other electronic artists, Lollapalooza organizers seem bent on steering the festival away from the meat and potatoes rock characterized by the Metallica/Soundgarden top billing last year, a move that generated much controversy among the alternative crowd, but, in the end, still hued to the festival's attitude of anything goes, and, if nothing else, made for one of the most lucrative Lolla's yet.We're told that back-to-the-fold Lolla originator Perry Farrell has been re-energized by his initially limited participation in the traveling festival and has thrown himself into the mix, bringing with him the same reckless spirit of abandon that originally made the festival a must-see event.EVERCLEAR LEADER DOES SOLO THINGAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Everclear's Art Alexakis is leaving behind his band mates for a few weeks and going out on his own for a series of solo acoustic and benefit shows.First up is a spot on the Creative Development panel at this year's South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas in March, which will be followed by a March 14 solo show at Austin's Cactus Cafe, and another set the next night at the Austin Convention Center, a benefit for the Portland-based Artists for a Hate-Free America.Alexakis will then hit the road for 13 dates, including yet another benefit gig, this one for the Musicians Assistance Program (M.A.P.) at L.A.'s Billboard Live which will also feature X's John Doe. A source at Capitol also told ATN that Everclear have been busy recording their follow-up to Sparkle and Fade, which is expected in late fall.As reported previously in ATN, the band have added Alexakis' friend Steven Birch (Sprinkler) to their touring line-up, but the source said he does not play on the new record.OLD SCHOOL MEETS NEWAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Old School rappers will get their due on a new still-untitled Priority Records album that finds the hip-hop stars of today covering classic rap tracks from the past. Although tracks from Snoop Doggy Dogg , Tha Dogg Pound, Too Short, Coolio and the Wu-Tang Clan are still forthcoming, already completed are efforts from Bad Boy Sean "Puffy" Combs (LL Cool J's "Big Ole' Butt"), the Def Squad's Erick Sermon, Keith Murray and Redman (Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"), the Roots (Doug E. Fresh's "The Show"), Cypress Hill (Boogie Down Productions' "I'm Still Number One"), and Mack 10 (N.W.A's "Gangsta Gangsta"). The album is slated for an early summer release.Also expected around that time from Priority is Ant Banks Presents Big Bangs , a compilation of rap duets produced by Ant Banks, a former member of the Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg posse. Some of the tracks on that album include Mack 10 with E-40 ("Can't Stop"), Ice Cube and Too Short ("Big Bangs"), Spice 1 and King Tee ("West Ridin'"), J-Dubb and WC ("Hard Knocks"), Diddley and Mr. Ill ("Time is Tickin'"), J-Dub and Rappin 4-Tay ("Playa Paraphanialia") 3XKrazy ("Smooth Getaway") and what a source at Priority called a "secret track featuring 3 important hip-hop artists" called "For Da Hustlas."MASSIVE ATTACK FORM LABELAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Birth a musical genre. Get your own record label. That seems to be the formula these days, at least for Bristol, England's Massive Attack who have inked a deal with Virgin UK to distribute their new label, Melankolic. The venture, which will be distributed by Caroline in the U.S., will be run by MA's manager, with the three members "having direct input into all aspects of the label...and a significant part in running the company, particularly in respect to A&R and design," according to a press release.The first release from the new label will be a 14-track 'best of' collection from Kingston, Jamaica reggae artist Horace Andy entitled Skylarking Volume 1 (March 25). Although it might seem an odd match, Andy, who got his start in the mid-'60s working at Kingston's renowned Studio 1, the "Motown of Jamaica," is a long-time collaborator of the band's, having worked with them on both Blue Lines and Protection, in addition to sessions with Neneh Cherry, Sly & Robbie and the Mad Professor, who, of course, worked with Massive Attack on the album Massive Attack v Mad Professor.The next Malankolic release will be from composer Craig Armstrong, who did many of the ornate string arrangements on Protection and who has also worked with U2, Suede and Madonna and is featured on the million-selling Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. That still untitled release is slated for early summer release and is described as a "modern orchestral album featuring arrangements and new work by Craig himself." Then, in the early fall, will be the debut from a new Bristol band called Ariel, whose sound is reportedly "the next step in the evolution of the now infamous 'Bristol sound.'"As for Massive Attack themselves, they are currently working on a new album that is slated for an early fall release.TROUBLE AT SUB POP?Addicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Sub Pop Records co-founder Bruce Pavitt will return to active duty at the Seattle-based label that put grunge on the map, heading a Sub Pop-manufactured and distributed dance-oriented label and serving as Chairman of Sub Pop.When we talked to Sub Pop honcho Jonathan Poneman last month about the changing face of the label (which is in business with Warner Bros. Records), we had no idea that the very things he was excited about (a Moby single, a Cheap Trick single, a Supersuckers country album) were apparently causing dissension and tension in the ranks.Poneman talked excitedly about doing what the label had always done, not "eclecticism for the sake of being eclectic," but a restless ethic that cleared the way for the odd spoken word album by a Steven Jesse Bernstein, or even a Moby single if that's what sounded right at the time. As Poneman put it, "my partner [Bruce Pavitt] and I have never been solely wed to heavy guitar rock. Neither emotionally, intellectually or aesthetically." Pavitt announced last year that he was retiring from active involvement in Sub Pop.Apparently the direction the label has taken since Pavitt's retreat hasn't been to his liking, or that of a number of staffers and reports are that a minor turf war has erupted. A press release from Sub Pop dated March 3, 1997 stated that on February 24, four staffers were let go (an A&R representative, a production manager and two assistants) "due to philosophical differences with the label."The release goes on to give this explanation: "Reminiscing about the days of yore, a small group of employees decided the label ought to be run more like it was 'back then' and took action which the company felt was inappropriate to achieve their goals."No indication has been given yet as to what those actions were, but a follow-up release does give some intimation of the seriousness of the skirmish. It says that "following elaborate discussions last week between Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman, Sub Pop is pleased to announce Bruce's return to an active, creative role with the label."


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