MUSIC NEWS OF THE WORLD: REM
R.E.M. SIGNS "$80 MILLION" DEALOne of the most popular contemporary rock bands in the world just became one of the most well paid. Warner Bros. Records said Sunday, August 25 that R.E.M. would continue recording for the label. The band, which had been fielding offers from a number of other companies, including Sony Music, Capitol Records and David Geffen's DreamWorks SKG label (where the execs who signed R.E.M. to Warner Bros. now work), informed Warner Bros. of their intention to stick around with a brief telegram: "We've always said we'll only do this as long as it's still fun, and right now it feels like we're just getting started, so let's keep going."Although R.E.M. has been together for 16 years, guitarist/songwriter Peter Buck told Addicted To Noise recently that he sees a lengthy future ahead for the band. "We haven't made that many records," Buck said. "This [New Adventures In Hi-Fi is our tenth record. I'd like to make 10 more before it becomes totally irrelevant, you know."Although neither the band's business representatives, nor Warner Bros. would comment on the terms of the new agreement, the L. A. Times reported that the five album deal was worth $80 million, including a $10 million signing bonus. The Times also reported that the band will receive an extremely high 24% royalty, which should earn them about $2.50 for each album sold.Buck told Addicted To Noise that for the group's release, which he thinks they'll begin work on next spring, he'd like to record an acoustic album in a house in Hawaii. "It'll be a way to not go in the studio," Buck said. "A way to come up with some stuff that would capture a different kind of experience."R.E.M. began it's recording career in 1981 with the release of the now classic "Radio Free Europe" on the very small Hib-Tone label. During much of the '80s they recorded for I.R.S., and it was during that time that they scored their first radio hit, 1987's "The One I Love." In 1988 the group signed to Warner Bros. and with New Adventures In Hi-Fi, will have released six albums (including Out of Time, Automatic for the People and Monster).OASIS SINGER FLAKES OUTAddicted To Noise London correspondent (and columnist) Tim Gaskill reports: Oasis began a three week tour of the U. S. on August 27th without their lead singer. Liam Gallagher, who sings lead on nearly all of Oasis' songs, said he was staying in London with his fiance, Patsy Kensit, so they could look for a house. The previous Friday, Oasis performed their MTV Unplugged gig in London at the Royal Festival Hall, also without Liam, who sat with Kensit and watched the show from the balcony. "Liam is not going to be with us tonight. He's got a sore throat," Oasis mastermind (and big brother) Noel Gallagher told the audience. Noel sang all the songs during the 90 minute performance including one re-take of "Hello." At the end of the band's set, the crowd chanted for Liam to come on stage. He obliged by strolling on stage, banging the piano a few times with his hand, waving to the crowd and then strolling off. The concert was recorded for MTV Unplugged, but it's unclear now if it will make it onto the air. It is Liam's distinctive singing style combined with his brother's songwriting and production skills that brought the group to the top of the U. S. and European charts. However it's Noel who sings the group's current U. S. hit, "Don't Look Back In Anger."NEW DRUMMER FOR PRIMUSAddicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg reports: Primus has a new drummer, and his name is Brain. Actually, his real name is Brian Mantia, but we suspect that it was the fact that he has a nick-name, Brain, that is the real reason that he has been added to the band. (Former drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander was given his walking papers some weeks ago.) Of course all Primus fans know that in addition to group mastermind Les Claypool, Primus includes one other nick-named member: guitarist Larry "Ler" Lalonde.Brain is a well-respected San Francisco Bay Area-based musician who has worked with Tom Waits (he played on Bone Machine), and in numerous local bands. He's on the recent Godflesh album, and has worked extensively with Bill Laswell. (Of historical note, some years ago an entity that called itself Brainlesgore performed at a San Francisco club. That combo consisted of Brain, Mr. Claypool and guitarist Joe Gore.) Brain is currently performing in Mr. Claypool's side project, Les Claypool and The Holy Mackerel.LOS LOBOS BLOW THE PRESIDENT AWAYAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: For the second time this summer, Los Lobos have been asked to play at an event hosted by El Presidente. The wolves will perform at a post-acceptance speech party as part of the festivities surrounding the Democratic National Convention. On July 21, the band entertained Clinton at a fund-raiser in Denver, one of his "Saxophone Club" parties, during which Clinton is sometimes known to jump up on stage and jam with the bands, although he didn't at that particular one. Apparently Clinton was so impressed by the band he invited them back, and, at least as far as saxophone player Steve Berlin is concerned, the feeling is mutual. "It was amazing to find out how knowledgeable he is about all things sax-related," said Berlin. "He could tell just by looking at the serial numbers on my horn when it was made. I don't know many professional horn players who could do that." Let's see, balance the budget, memorize serial numbers. Hmmm. In other band news, the Los Lobos side-project, the Latin Playboys, will be entering the studio sometime this fall to record a follow-up to their excellent 1994 self-titled debut for release sometime in mid-'97.SOUL ASYLUM GET READY TO ENTER STUDIOAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Following a short, eight-city tour of festivals and fairgrounds, Soul Asylum are set to head back into the studio to record a follow-up to 1995's disappointing Let Your Dim Light Shine. Not surprisingly, since his band, Garbage, has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon, producer Butch Vig (who produced the group's previous album) will not be working with the Soul Asylum on this album. The band will, however, be entering a Minneapolis studio in two weeks to begin work on their as-yet-untitled eighth album with producer Matt Hyde (Porno for Pyros) and singer Dave Pirner has plenty of new songs he's eager to get on tape.LIFE'S A (7 YEAR) BITCHAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: 7 Year Bitch guitarist Roisin Dunne has quit the Seattle-based group. Dunne joined in the fall of 1993. After fulfilling the group's commitment to the Everclear's "Summerland" Tour at the beginning of this month, the axmistress called it a day because, according to a source at Atlantic Records, "She just didn't feel like rocking anymore." Dunne had replaced guitarist Stefanie Sargent, who died of a heroin overdose just one week before the 1992 release of the group's EP, Sick 'EM. 7 Year Bitch, whose major label debut, Gato Negro, was released in March of this year, is currently looking for a replacement.OFF-THE-(ATN) WIRE: Perry Farrell's all-night alien love fest, the ENIT festival, got off to a great start in Holmdel, New Jersey on Saturday, August 17. A sold-out crowd of 10,000 adventurers turned out for Farrell's post-Lollapalooza extravaganza, which mixed challenging non-mainstream, non-rock artists like the Sun Ra Arkestra and the ReBirth Brass Band with a mostly electronic line-up of rock and techno that included the Orb, Meat Beat Manifesto and Rabbit in the Moon. However an L. A. show was not so well-attended...After being showered with beer and pelted with lit cigarette butts for 45 minutes, Johnny Rotten finally re-captured a glimmer of the original spirit of the Sex Pistols when he instructed the crowd at a surprise club show that took place in Toronto on Tuesday night (Aug. 20) to go fuck themselves, and promptly stomped off stage, shortly followed by the rest of the band. Unfortunately, Rotten & Co. ruined the moment by slinking back on stage 10 minutes later, and the rest of the proceedings qualified as a distinct anti-climax...The President has requested that Joni Mitchell drop by the White House so that Chelsea and Hilary Clinton can meet the legendary folk-rocker. President Clinton has been a huge Joni Mitchell fan since the late '60s. We're told that Mitchell, who is currently recording a new album, hopes to visit the White House in September or October....Pat Boone, the guy who did pallid versions of Little Richard songs in the '50s and scored pop radio hits with them, has almost wrapped up an album of heavy metal songs tentatively titled In A Metal Mood. Tom Scott, the sax guy has created big band arrangements of Van Halen's "Panama," Deep Purple's Smoke On the Water," Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and even some Dio song. We hear that Ritchie Blackmore and Dweezil Zappa are among the guest musicians.