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I'm still not used to the idea that DARIUS RUCKER ("Hootie" to you and me) is a chart-topping country superstar now. It's kinda like Chris Cornell doing a record with Timbaland, or Shirley Manson morphing into a urinal on that Terminator TV show: is this for real, or some kind of a dream where my subconscious is belching out highly unlikely '90s pop-culture scenarios? It's not that I find Rucker unsuitable for Nashville — more that I can't believe the dude isn't down to state fairs and The Surreal Life by now.

In more comforting and familiar news: COUNTING CROWS have been released from their Geffen contract, and with any luck they'll be winding down into the acoustic Starbucks-exclusive territory where they belong. Of course, given the way things are going these days, Adam Duritz will instead wind up as the new bandleader on Letterman or some ridiculous dream-logic shit like that.

I'm not too bummed that I missed South by Southwest, but I'm effing pissed that, even as I write this, I'm missing the ultimate nexus of sophistication: KID ROCK performing a medley of his best-loved hits at Wrestlemania 25. In other Kid news: this Billboard piece wins the title for most disappointingly non-literal headline of the week: "Kid Rock 'On Fire' in the Studio."

And one more unmissable event: MÖTLEY CRÜE are back with another Crüe Fest! It's set to roll through the Comcast Center on August 19. And just in case you're entertaining any dangerous whim of going for irony or nostalgia purposes, it's my duty to warn you that they'll have Godsmack and Drowning Pool in tow, and that's square enough to go on your permanent record.

Great Britain was recently swept up in its 10th annual "STONE ROSES Are Getting Back Together" media hysteria, which I gather is the UK version of Easter. This year marked perhaps an all-time high-water mark in the history of the spectacle, with its combination of tantalizingly credible confirmations (major newspapers reporting that the group had signed a contract for 21 summer shows) and heartwarmingly over-the-top denials (guitarist John Squire creating a vaguely cross-shaped sculpture painted with the words "I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group the Stone Roses"). The festival came to a bittersweet close with Squire's traditional "I haven't talked to Ian Brown since 1996 and there is no possibility whatsoever of it ever happening" speech, which was warmly received by fans around the world.

Following the thorough debunkage, Brown will retire comfortably to his increasingly superfluous solo career, and Squire will continue to display his acclaimed paintings, sculptures, and reunion denials at galleries across Europe. The Stone Roses' bassist and drummer will continue to sit glumly behind their instruments in some dark rehearsal space, silently hoping and wishing.

The latest reports from the PHIL SPECTOR murder trial (which has now exceeded my attention span by about a year) have the prosecution accusing Spector of "conscious disregard for human life" and calling him a "demonic maniac." Hey, prosecutor, the dude might be a terrible woman murderer, but don't stir up people's emotions by implying that he's an amazing Lethal Weapon/Bad Boys II–style loose cannon. When you use that kind of language, you risk setting yourself up as the asshole police chief who's always busting the hero's balls, and you know how that tends to divert juror sympathies toward trigger-happy mavericks with rad names like "Spector."

Related: The Big Hurt: Rock in a hard place, The Big Hurt: The week in digital mishaps, Counting Crows, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Timbaland, Timbaland, Alternative and Contemporary Rock,  More more >
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 See all articles by: DAVID THORPE

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