Music News of the World: U2 Tour

RAGE TO OPEN U2 SHOWSAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: The veil of secrecy over who will open the upcoming U2 American tour was lifted just a bit yesterday when it was announced that Rage Against the Machine would be taking the stage for the first nine dates of the much-hyped PopMart tour, beginning April 25 in Las Vegas.A spokesperson from the Rage's label, Epic Records, confirmed that Rage will play the first two weeks of the tour, starting in Vegas and ending in Clemson, South Carolina on May 16. The pairing seems perfect, considering that both bands have vocal members who have taken very public stands on political and social issues. both band's well-documented outspokenness and political activity. U2 have most recently been focused on helping Sarajevo's war victims, while Rage have been active on behalf of Mexico's embattled Zapatistas.In keeping with their proclivity for giving back, the members of Rage have agreed to donate all their net earnings from the dates to six organizations, including: the National Commission For Democracy in Mexico, the supporters and family of Mumia Abu Jamal, press-watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the Zapatista Front For National Liberation, the AIDS support group Women Alive and U.N.I.T.E., a garment worker's union.This will mark the first time the bands have shared a stage. Following these dates, Rage will embark on a European tour, followed by a jaunt to Japan and then yet another U.S. tour from August 9-September 15. The support act(s) for the rest of the dates on U2's tour have not yet been announced.LIZ PHAIR BACK IN ACTIONAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: After nearly a year of being Exiled In Limboville, Liz Phair is back at work on her next album with R.E.M. producer Scott Litt. The duo recently spent four days in an L. A. studio.She is expected back on the coast in a few weeks for more work on the still-untitled album. The notoriously stage-shy artist road-tested a few of her new songs at last year's SXSW festival, including "Oh My God," "Ride," "Kiss the Buddha" and "Rocket Boy," a song she co-wrote and recorded with Material Issue's Jim Ellison (who committed suicide last June) which appeared on the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci's coming-of-sexual-age film Stealing Beauty. None of the other songs have been released yet.Phair began work on the album at the beginning of '96, tracking a dozen songs with Litt in L. A. over the course of a month of 16-hour days. But as she told ATN last year, she wasn't sure about the results. She said it was because she and Litt both wanted to find a new sound for her music, but that they just "couldn't find it together."Everyone is trying to make their vision happen and I'm trying to get to the point where I can do that," Phair said. " I desperately want to do something new that sounds different for me, and so does Scott. We just couldn't agree on what that was."She returned to Chicago last year with the intention of re-working the tracks in her then-new apartment by herself, hoping for a late fall '96 release. Phair told ATN that Litt had boiled the songs down to one track, on top of which she planned to "add the experimental stuff on the other seven tracks," never quite articulating what that "experimental" factor she was looking for would sound like.The closest Phair came was to explain that the songs went "from rough and sloppy to too clean and now I'm going to try and rough it up again and then clean it up after that. I'm not re-recording the whole thing, just building new layers on top, because, in a way, I always thought that what would be really good for my music would be a very structured bed, which Scott is good at creating, overlaid with my more sloppy tendencies."A lot has happened since then, not the least of which was the arrival of Phair's first child --a son -- this past December.According to Matador Records, the album is slated for a September release.PUMPKIN EXPECTED TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE HOLE ALBUMAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Now that Courtney Love doesn't have to worry about what she's going to wear to the Oscars, since her bid for a Best Actress award for her portrayal of Althea Flynt in The People Vs. Larry Flynt was not recognized by the Academy, her band Hole is finally getting back to business. A source close to the band told ATN that Love's former paramour, the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, will more than likely be joining in the fun as "executive producer" of the still-germinating album. What exactly that mostly-honorary title means isn't clear, but indications are that Corgan will be available for consultation, and another producer, possibly Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins) will do the day-to-day production work.The source also said that the band have already written 8-9 songs together for the effort and that all are present and accounted for in LA these days, but that actual sessions haven't been scheduled and only Courtney knows when the record might see the light of day.URGE OVERKILL'S NEW BEGINNINGAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Last time we heard from Chicago's Urge Overkill, notorious in the Windy City for their meticulous adherence to the dictum of style over substance and a fondness for gaudy UO medallions and cocktails, the band were in melt-down mode following the disappointing response to their muddled fifth album Exit the Dragon. And while the record was hardly given the big push by their former label, Geffen, in one of Chi-town's favorite pastimes, the wagons started circling, as they had several times during the band's erratic career, and reports indicated that the tipsy trio were on the verge of losing the Urge.What followed was a typically messy series of overkilling events. A planned tour was canceled, chalked up to the group's desire to "be with family" during the Christmas holidays, with vague assurances from their PR flacks that the barely-charting album would be "re-launched" in the new year. Neither the tour nor the album were ever heard from again. Drummer Blackie Onassis spiraled into a very public battle with heroin, and, finally, a nasty split between singer/guitarist National "Nash" Kato and singer/bassist/guitarist Eddie "King" Roeser, which resulted in Roeser's ousting from the band, completed the career-threatening hat trick. Suddenly, the band, who'd been flying high just a year before, when their 4-year-old cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" became a surprise hit on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, looked like goners.Then, they were the beneficiaries of some very un-Urge-like good luck. Their former Geffen publicist hopped to Sony/550 Music and asked the then two-man band if they wanted to make the jump also. The duo began working on some demos at The Bank, their Shaft-like Chicago recording/chill-out bachelor pad complex, still without a guitarist to replace Roeser, when a tape from Chicago expatriate Nils St. Cyr fell into their laps. St. Cyr, who apparently had both the wardrobe and chops to impress Kato and Onassis, was deemed Urge-worthy and, just last month, the band signed on the dotted line with 550 Music. A source at 550 says they've already started working on new material at The Bank for what they hope will be a late 1997 release.Off-The-(ATN)-Wire: The Foo Fighters have announced that Taylor Hawkins, who most recently occupied the drum stool in Alanis Morissette's band, will replace departed drummer William Goldsmith. Hawkins will join the band (Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel) on their upcoming tour, but will not appear on their sophomore album, tentatively entitled The Colour & The Shape (May 20)... Everclear leader Art Alexakisis performing songs that will appear on the next Everclear album during his current solo acoustic tour... With 24 million copies sold, the Eagles album, Their Greatest Hits, has now tied with Michael Jackson's Thriller for top selling U. S. album.. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is a new producers supergroup that includes Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers (Beck, Beastie Boys, Eels), Prince Paul (De La Soul) and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura (Dr. Octagon). The group's first album will include vocals and lyrics by De La Soul, the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, Beck, Folk Implosion, Spain and Cornershop and many others....

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