DAVID BERMAN of SILVER JEWS intends to quit the music biz and concentrate on writing prose, says a post on the Drag City Web site. It seems like a natural transition, since his records have always been pretty writerly, but we'll all be bummed to lose him as a recording artist — pretending to have heard his latest record is a tradition that we critics have relied on for more than a decade, and we'll sorely miss his ability to pad out year-end lists when we can think of only nine records we actually listened to. At least we've still got Will Oldham, thank goodness.
I'm just joshing! Of course we've heard his records. Well, maybe not the last four or five, but if you're a qualified critic, it's perfectly possible to extrapolate.
A 29-year-old fan dropped dead of a heart attack at a recent show by creepy metal clowns SLIPKNOT. I don't want to sound callous, but did they really think they could base their entire careers on scary masks and loud noises without startling a few people to death? It's time somebody put a stop to this public-health menace.
In other gig-safety news: a police officer is alleged to have peed on an unlucky METALLICA fan at a recent Boston concert (I mean a concert in Boston, not by Boston). I'm disappointed to have to report, however, that the officer, an off-duty Brewster cop, did not pee on the fan (assuming he did at all) as a matter of official police business. That would have been much funnier.
ORBITAL are reuniting! You remember them, right? The pair of pasty nerds who made a bunch of money playing bleep-bloop music in the '90s but have been utterly left behind by the artistic zeitgeist? No, not the Chemical Brothers. No, not the Crystal Method. No, not Underworld. No, not the Orb. No, not Future Sound of London. The other one.
DANIEL SULLIVAN, the hero who toppled NOEL GALLAGHER at last year's V Festival and cracked a few ribs in the name of æsthetic justice, has been hit with an upgraded charge: aggravated assault, which differs from the previous charge of vanilla assault in that it's usually treated as a felony and comes with a maximum sentence of up to 14 years. I wish the dude luck with the trial. I guess he can't claim insanity, since attacking Noel Gallagher is by its very nature an act of sanity, but maybe he could try the "acting in the defense of others" excuse — there must have been tens of thousands of victims out in that field getting pummeled with stubbly Manchester nostalgia, and it took a brave man to stand up and say, "This abuse must not be tolerated." Or maybe, "I'm really drunk and I'm going to knock down the Oasis guy, haw haw."
Still wondering why he didn't pick Liam, though.
And speaking of assault: what the bleep does LIL WAYNE think he's doing? If you don't know why I'm asking, you haven't heard "Prom Queen" yet, or gotten wind of his plan to release a "rock" album despite his comical and proven inability to sing or play the guitar. I love Weezy as a rapper, and I honestly thought he'd built up enough good will that I'd be willing to entertain a few more of his weirdo dalliances, but 30 seconds into "Prom Queen" I was ready to sit down and reconsider the entire half-decade history of his merit and maybe even apply the horror of his "new direction" retrospectively and conclude that he'd always, since day one, been the worst artist in the history of popular music.
But, yikes, being the only guy alive who's still capable of going platinum, he's probably surrounded by an impenetrable wall of yes men who will never, ever point out to him that the correlation between being a great rapper and being a great rocker is about as strong as the one between being a great electrician and being a great figure skater.
Thanks to the arcane workings of the Internet and the adorably childlike credulity of the media, it's become really easy to pretend to be KANYE WEST and get tons of press with false claims. In the past few months, he's had his Twitter, MySpace, and G-mail accounts hacked, with phony posts dissing Stephen Colbert and claiming to be up for some bi-sexual porno action. "Please, I beg you," blogged Kanye on his official site, "give me a break! Please! Let me be great!" Gee, seeing him all worked up like that makes me feel a little bad for doing this, but . . .
Hello, I'm Kanye West. I have to wear a rubber vest under my suits because I lactate. My favorite meal is eating mustard right from the jar, with a comb. I've just signed on to edit the sixth-edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. I'm quitting music to become a murderer.
Let's see how long it takes for one of those items to trickle unchecked into the gossip column of a major newspaper!