CMU Daily - on the inside 20 Mar 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• Vivendi’s entertainments chief quits
• Blur fans webcammed online
• Super Furry Gruff on new album
• Mellor considering record deals
• Review: Har Mar Superstar - You Can Feel Me
• Gallagher joins charity bill
• Moore’s open letter to Mr Bush
• 8 Mile tops 2 million in first week of video release
• Ministry launch phone games with THQ
• Mansun and Feftones follow Fownload with Glasgow dates
• TaTu represent Russia at Eurovision
• Evans and Virgin court battle begins
• Thrilling times in LA
• Stone Roses members collaborate on UNKLE track
• Brush aiming for Christmas number one
• Review: Ooberman - Hey Petrunko
• Elektra cancel European dates for their artists
• Lamb reschedule
• Midweek chart update
• Supergrass alright with ad soundtrack

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CMU POP QUIZ
Win a free 12 month subscription to Xfm's new monthly music magazine X-Ray, keep the answers to our movie related pop questions each day this week and find out how to enter on Friday.

Q4: Soundtracks – Pulp's 'Mile End' and Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' appear on which movie's soundtrack

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VIVENDI'S ENTERTAINMENTS CHIEF QUITS
Barry Diller has quit as chief executive of Vivendi Universal's US based entertainment unit, leading to speculation that the group will sell off many of its entertainment operations sooner rather than later.

Diller got the role overseeing Vivendi's entertainment businesses when the group bought his USA Networks company during that massive spending spree that eventually brought the Vivendi group to the brink. As the Vivendi HQ in France works to overcome the group's financial woes by selling of various European companies, Diller has been looking for buyers for the groups American entertainment concerns. This originally included Universal's music operations (Polydor, Mercury and Island in the UK), though group chief executive Jean-Rene Fourtou recently gave a commitment to keeping the record labels, and has been reportedly by-passing Diller and dealing with Universal Music chief Doug Morris on all music matters.

The sticking point of Diller's departure will be how much he will receive if any of the entertainment companies he sold to Vivendi get sold on. By the USA Networks deal he will get a sizable pay off if any sale takes place, and he is likely to be more ruthless in maximizing that pay off if he is outside the company.

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BLUR FANS WEBCAMMED ONLINE
Blur, who have been filming their studio sessions for their website, are now inviting fans to supply video footage for the site. As the build up to the release of new album 'Think Tank' develops a library of webcam footage of the band is now online. Plus their revamped website includes a section where fans can put their own webcams online – their activities soundtracked by selections from the new album. Within hours of launching the fan section there were web cams online from Las Vegas, Gdansk, a Wolf sanctuary, Blur fans' bedrooms, a DJ booth and a golf course.

Check it out at http://www.blur.co.uk. Press info from RMP on 020 8969 2600.

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SUPER FURRY GRUFF ON NEW ALBUM
Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys has been talking to NME about forthcoming album 'Phantom Power' and first single release 'Golden Retriever', due for a July and June release respectively. Talking about the single he said: "It's about a dog/bitch. This is different, but it's till got a Furry sound. There's never gonna be a song that represents the whole album, but we talked about it and agreed on this one."

One track on the album - 'Liberty Belle' - contains references to September 11, on which Rhys continued: "The American people deserve better than what they've got. The band love America. The diversity of the place is incredible. We always get a huge welcome. But the song's not specifically about the US. It's saying that responsibility lies with everyone in the world. There's no point blaming Americans for everything. People are the same everywhere. It's saying we have to learn from our mistakes."

The full interview will be published in next week's NME.

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MELLOR CONSIDERING RECORD DEALS
Will Mellor – winner of the celeb Fame Academy – is reported to be considering a number of record deals after his success on the Comic Relief TV show. But he has told the Sun he is wary of pursuing the music line – Mellor attempted a pop career after he left teen soap Hollyoaks in 1998, but he only released two singles before parting with his record company. He told the paper yesterday: "I'm seriously thinking about having another go at a pop career, but I'm worried. I don't know what to do. Music is my life, but I don't want to be a flash in the pan."

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REVIEW: Har Mar Superstar - You Can Feel Me (B-Unique)
Har Mar Superstar has sparked much debate amongst those present when his album has been played. Well, I say debate, more of a "What's this? It's rubbish." For those who haven't heard about HMS's live spectacle, the fact that this short, fat whitey chap strips down to his y-fronts at the climax of each show seems to cut little ice when fronted against the somewhat insipid studio version. That's not to say ‘You Can Feel Me’ is all bad as albums go, and you can certainly see why in some circles he's being compared to Prince, it's just that he does have a tendency to descend into second rate r+b territory. Being smutty works for some but Har Mar Superstar needs to give it a bit more thought. LA
Release date: 17 Mar
Press Contact: Wild [CP, CR] Pomona [RP] Mercenary [NP] The Partnership [RR, NR]

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GALLAGHER JOINS CHARITY BILL
The line ups for next week's Albert Hall shows in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust got even better yesterday when Noel Gallagher confirmed he will join Richard Ashcroft and Paul Wellor at the 26 Mar show. The full line up of the six concerts organised by The Who's Roger Daltrey now look like this:

24 Mar: Coldplay/Richard Hawley
25 Mar: Eric Clapton & Friends/ Mark Knopfler & Friends
26 Mar: Richard Ashcroft/ Paul Weller/ Noel Gallagher
27 Mar: Doves/Asian Dub Foundation
28 Mar: Ash & Supergrass
29 Mar: Madness/Aswad/Bill Bailey

More info from the Teenage Cancer Trust's official website at http://www.teencancer.org.

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MOORE'S OPEN LETTER TO MR BUSH
Michael Moore has sent Bush Junior a letter on the "eve of the war" restressing his objections to the military action already unfolding in Iraq. He opens: "So today is what you call "the moment of truth" - I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you."

He then lists six truths for Bush, stressing he does not have the support of the majority of the American population for this war, that Americans are not fooled by talks of the "threat" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and that Bush is pitching himself against much of the rest of the world with his actions.

He adds: "The Pope has said this war is wrong, that it is a sin. The Pope! But even worse, the Dixie Chicks have now come out against you! How bad does it have to get before you realize that you are an army of one on this war?"

You can read the full letter at http://www.michaelmoore.com

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8 MILE TOPS 2 MILLION IN FIRST WEEK OF VIDEO RELEASE
Early figures suggest that the video/DVD release of '8 Mile' should pass 2 million after the first week of sales. While no record – Spider Man sold 11 million in its first week last year – it is still good going and will keep Universal's home video division happy.

Universal Studios Home Video President Craig Kornblau told reporters: "This is truly a fantastic beginning to what is proving to be a huge year in the video and DVD industry. The remarkable consumer purchasing on the first day proves the power of the film, the force of Eminem and the strength of the DVD format. But no, I don't know how it's doing in Baghdad."

Meanwhile sales of the 8 Mile soundtrack were up – may be as much as threefold – on the back of the video release.

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MINISTRY LAUNCH PHONE GAMES WITH THQ
THQ have signed an agreement with Ministry of Sound to develop a range of Ministry branded games for mobile phones. The first game – where players have to tap the buttons of their phone in beat with the Ministry music being played – will be available from network network operator download services and from http://www.ministryofsound.com very soon.

Announcing the partnership CM Harper, Ministry's Commercial Director told reporters: "We selected THQ Wireless as our partner for this exciting new venture because of their experience and expertise in the mobile games market. We believe that Ministry of Sound’s brand will work well on mobile phones and prove to be very popular with our audiences."

Adam Comiskey at THQ Wireless added: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s best recognised youth entertainment brands and experts in the dance music industry."

Press enquires to Adam Comiskey at acomiskey@thq.com

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MANSUN AND DEFTONES FOLLOW DOWNLOAD WITH GLASGOW DATES
Marilyn Manson and Deftones, both booked to play the Donington Download Festival on 31 May, will play dates at Glasgow Braehead Arena on consecutive nights – 2 and 3 Jun respectively. Tickets are already on sale for both shows.

Manson's new album 'The Golden Age Of Grotesque' is out on May 12.

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TATU REPRESENT RUSSIA AT EUROVISION
Here's a treat for Eurovision viewers – the chart topping TaTu will represent Russia at the Song Contest on 24 May – Russian officials hope the pair can help the country win the pop trophy for the first time. Talking to the Sun the TaTu girls promised a sexy dance routine to shock judges. "No one should be scared of us but we're going to win Eurovision," Julia told the paper, with Lena adding "We wanted to do this because we are Russians body and soul. We want to blast everything that's gone before with our sexy act."

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EVANS AND VIRGIN COURT BATTLE BEGINS
As predicted yesterday – the war of words between Chris Evans and the Scottish Media Group, the company that bought his radio station and then fired him from it, has begun as Evans goes to court in a bid to secure the share options he claims he is owned.

"It is so obvious that Mr Evans' conduct - not turning up for work, sacking his team, putting in place a new team of lesser quality, appearing drunk every day in the papers, cocking a snook at Virgin Radio - was so damaging to [SMG's] business," SMG's lawyer told the court. "What could be more damaging than the public face of the station saying in public that the management is incompetent and he is having nothing else to do with them?"

The station claims Evans broke his presenter contract on a number of levels – including refusing to take part in station publicity, changing sponsored promotions on air without permission and bad mouthing the station in public. Evans' solicitor, Christopher Pymont QC, responded by saying his client felt "a lack of respect for his opinion and experience" by Virgin bosses, who treated and sacked him "brutally".

The case continues today with Evans expected to take the stand.

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THRILLING TIMES IN LA
The Thrills, currently supporting the Turin Brakes on tour, have been talking to Radio 1 about the time they spent in LA recording their up coming album.

Singer Conor recalled: "There's one Sunday, I think every six months, where all the local gangs come out and stake their territory. We were just these Irish lads, milkbottle white, you know legs, walking up and down, and there's all these tough looking guys leaning about. "And they don't do anything all day, they just lean against the wall, and there's five of them together, and they just stake each other out all day. And we were just all going 'what the hell is going on here' like. There was just a really weird tension in the air around the boardwalk, and the rest was all merry-go-rounds and that kind of stuff, so it was a bit weird."

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STONE ROSES MEMBERS COLLABORATE ON UNKLE TRACK
Former Stone Roses members Ian Brown and Mani will be reunited on a track on the forthcoming UNKLE album. Talking to Xfm about the collaboration UNKLE frontman James Lavelle explained: "It's an orchestral led piece with Ian on it, and Mani actually plays bass on it. It's in a pretty DJ oriented style.” On the album in general he added: "There's a couple of guests on there, but it's not as many as the last one. It's quite a different record. It's a bit more organic and I think it's a little more up and down, and takes you on more of a journey through different types of sounds. From dirty beats to acoustic."

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BRUSH AIMING FOR CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE
Well, it's nearly April so it's time to start thinking about Christmas number ones. The company who own the rights to Basil Brush, who has been enjoying renewed success since he returned to kids TV last year, are planning a novelty release for the Christmas market – and William Hill bookmakers are offering 50-1 for him to top the Christmas chart. Brush – who got a boost in the student market when he was used to encourage students to vote in the NUS elections – benefits from a new audience, and those who remember his TV shows from the sixties onwards.

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REVIEW: Ooberman - Hey Petrunko (Rotodisc)
On first listen it appears that Ooberman have made the most preposterous and pretentious 'indie' album since Mansun's 'Six'. Copious strings, studio effects, random time signature changes and lyrics about elves (probably)…it's all here. As the songs emerge from the concept album fog however, what unveils is a very English collection of psychedelic whimsy, which occasionally out-Clearlakes Clearlake and is vividly haunted by the ghosts of Barrett, Bowie, Blur and God knows what else. And for the most part, it's actually quite enchanting. Although 'First Day Of The Holidays' is just poor man's Pulp, whilst there's no excuse for the ghastly, operatic 'Snakedance' (sub-sixth form poetry on a canvas of Eastern European gypsy dancing music, heavy metal guitars and drum 'n' bass - no, really), much of the album has a crystalline, evocative beauty that fully encapsulates the childlike wonder of growing up under the stars. Doubtless, 'Hey Petrunko' will end up a criminally ignored 'lost classic' but, nonetheless, its universe of beguiling melancholia and gorgeous pop symphonies is well worth visiting. MS
Release date: 3 Mar
Press contact: Upshot [CP, CR] Workhard [RP, NP] Red Alert [RR, NR]

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ELEKTRA CANCEL EUROPEAN DATES FOR THEIR ARTISTS
Warners' US based imprint Elektra Records are the first label to cancel international activity as a result of the war. All up coming European dates for their US based acts, including Scandinavian band Blindside, have been put on hold. In a statement the label explained: "Due to the impending war in Iraq - Elektra Records has cancelled all international touring plans. This includes the Blindside tour of the UK and Germany planned for March 27th - April 6th . This is obviously a situation outside of our control and while we would love to undertake this tour in the current climate the safety of the band and crew is the first priority for all of us. We all hope this situation can be resolved quickly and we can return to Europe soon". Other US based labels are expected to follow suit unless the war is over incredibly quickly.

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LAMB RESCHEDULE
Lamb have announced the rescheduled dates for their forthcoming UK tour, which was postponed when work on their new album overran. The new dates:

3 May: Manchester Academy
4 May: QMU, Glasgow
5 May: Leeds Met University
7 May: Concorde, Brighton
8 May: Warehouse, Derby
9 May: Brixton Academy, London
11 may: Bristol Academy

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MIDWEEK CHART UPDATE
Well, it looks likely the Gates/Kumar/charidee combination behind 'Spirit In The Sky' will hold on to the top spot this Sunday, even though it passed the catchy/irritating dividing line on Tuesday morning. Gates' sales are considerably ahead of highest new entry contenders Liberty X with Mis-Teeq and Linkin Park also likely to get new entries in the top 5.

Simply Red, whose return I managed to completely miss until Mr Hucknall's video suddenly appeared on Magic TV yesterday, are also tipped for a Top 10 new entry. Albums wise nowt out there is likely to shift Norah Jones from the top spot – unless a lot of Coldplay, Danni Minogue or Paul McCartney fans go shopping this weekend.

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SUPERGRASS ALRIGHT WITH AD SOUNDTRACK
Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey has been talking about their decision to give an American credit card company rights to use 'Alright' on an advert: "To us, 'Alright' is so old and we don't really play the song anymore. So we don't really like it too much."

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