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When Davy met Marcia

Posted March 1st, 2012 by debritz

Perhaps this isn't the finest moment in the career of Davy Jones, the British actor and lead singer of The Monkees, who has died at just 66, but it was the one that imediately came to my mind:

(I'm not sure as a responsible parent I'd be letting an older man take my teenage daughter to the prom, though.)

What's in a name?

Posted September 30th, 2011 by debritz

From the Facebook fan page for the Joe Jackson Band (fronted by the man who wrote Is She Really Going Out With Him, Steppin' Out, Sunday Papers, Real Men and dozens of other brilliant songs):

Okay.....the below is an email I received yesterday from one of the seemingly countless number of people who think that OUR Joe Jackson is the OTHER Joe Jackson.....keep in mind they need to go to Joe's site to send me email....meaning they see the very English, very white Joe and somehow still think they're reaching Michael's father....

"Your treatment of Michael and the rest of the family was terrible! It is no wonder Michael is no longer with us. You should be ashamed. You were a terrible father to have done what you did. Shame! Shame! Shame! "

PS: I suppose they could have thought he was this Joe Jackson.

PPS: Joe's real name is David Ian Jackson.

PPPS: Here's something you may not have seen or heard before.

Not saving Amy

Posted July 24th, 2011 by debritz

Amy Winehouse is dead at age 27. Oh, well, never mind, there's plenty more where she came from -- and more than enough greedy entertainment industry executives lined up to squeeze their talent, their future and their very lives out of them.

Did it really have to end like this for Winehouse, and was her own "self-destructive" bent the only thing to blame? Here's something I wrote back in December, 2007:

The Daily Mail has a feature article on singer Amy Winehouse, asking: "Why is no one acting to stop the headlong rush into oblivion?" Liz Jones writes, in part: "Why hasn't her record company, which must have made a fortune from her multi-platinum-selling albums, booked her into a secure rehab facility?" A simple, but cynical, answer: a troubled, or even a dead, singer can make more money for a record company than a clean-living and well-adjusted one. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: many in the music industry tolerate, even facilitate, the use of illegal drugs - and for that they, and the industry itself, must be held accountable.

Winehouse is not the first star to die as a consequence of her drug addiction, nor will she be the last. Just as the media has been put on notice in recent weeks over illegal phone hacking, so should the music, film, TV and fashion industries be read the riot act over its tolerance, and often active enabling, of illegal drug use.

During my many years as an entertainment writer and editor, I've always felt sick about the prevailing casual attitude towards the heavy use of hard drugs. I've been especially sickened by some in my acquaintance who were in the process of f---ing up their own life, and/or the life of somebody they loved, through the uncontrolled abuse of substances both illegal and legal. The fact that they joked about it made it much worse.

It's time for the entertainment industry to take a stand and say it's not acceptable for vulnerable people (often those who've come from nowhere and been thrust into the "glamorous" world of showbiz) to be allowed, and assisted, to kill themselves. And if the industry doesn't do it, then the police should. The next time there's a major awards ceremony, it shouldn't be a tabloid hack testing the restrooms for traces of white powder for a journalistic lark, but the law doing it with a clear purpose.

Those with addiction problems should receive treatment and those who cynically exploit the victims of addiction for monetary gain -- by scoring the drugs in the first place or turning a blind eye to what's going on as long as the cash keeps rolling in -- should be fined heavily and, in the case of serial offenders, locked up.

Earl Okin's on his way, at last

Posted May 6th, 2010 by debritz

In the late-1990s, I saw Earl Okin at an arts festival in Hong Kong. About three years ago, he was lined up to perform in Brisbane as part of an Australian tour to coincide with the release of his album, and I was scheduled to interview him for the Sunday Mail. However, the tour and the interview were cancelled. Now I'm pleased to discover that Okin will perform at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival from June 16-26. He'll be at the Judith Wright Centre on opening night, and if he's anywhere near as good as he was a decade ago, he'll be well worth seeing. The festival bill also includes performances by Ross Wilson and John Waters, Denise Scott and Bob Downe. Details here.

Kick-Ass character looks familiar

Posted April 20th, 2010 by debritz

A reader writes:
The latest film Kick-Ass features a purple bobbed-hair hero wearing mask called Hit Girl (Mindy McReady). It's from comic Kick-Ass which started in 2008 and is sure to be a cult hit. However in 2007, Queensland band Krill, who are based in Sydney, recorded a video for the debut single Shake It Up Ma with a bubble girl character who you'd swear was Hit Girl. The video was commissioned by Sony and was recorded before the band toured got Big Day Out, playing every city including opening the main stage in Perth. It's unlikely the makers of Kick-Ass ever saw the video, but they definitely look the same. You be the judge
Here's the video.

Led Zep rules UK

Posted April 19th, 2010 by debritz

Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven has been named the UK's favourite rock song. In a poll by radio station Absolute Classic Rock, it was followed by
2. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
3. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
4. Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta love
5. Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water
6. The Who - Baba O' Reilly
7. Led Zeppelin - Rock 'n' Roll
8. Free - All Right Now
9. The Beatles - Revolution
10. The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
More here. A friend comments: "Joe Dolce's Shaddap You Face, inexplicably, missing. As too the Graham Bonnet version of It's All over Now, Baby Blue. Maybe they creeped in at Nos. 11 and 12."

Farewell, Malcolm McLaren

Posted April 9th, 2010 by debritz

This is no rock'n'roll swindle, Malcolm McLaren, the man behind the Sex Pistols, is dead from cancer at 64. Here he is performing his solo hit Buffalo Gals:

Musical moments

Posted November 18th, 2009 by debritz

Tex Perkins' star turn as Johnny Cash in The Man in Black has, according to the show's publicist, had Brisbane audiences "crying out for more". The producers, Folsom Prison Productions, have extended the season at the Twelfth Night Theatre until December 13. In a not-so-similar vein, Eurovision parody Eurobeat, starring Rhonda Burchmore and Glynn Nicholas with guest appearances from Glenn Shorrock and Wilbur Wilde, opens at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, on November 25.

Leave Britney alone!

Posted November 11th, 2009 by debritz

Britney Spears is under fire for lip-synching when she should be singing. Give the girl a break, I say. Haven't we all been guilty at one time or another of pretending to work?

Plug and play the Fab Four

Posted November 4th, 2009 by debritz

According to Yoko Ono, who should know, Apple Corps (not Apple Computer) and EMI wil release a limited-edition apple-shaped USB that will include all the tracks from The Beatles' stereo albums. Only 30,000 will be available. The world still awaits the MP3 release of that wonderful back catalogue. More here.

Jessica's Deadly!

Posted October 15th, 2009 by debritz

Congratulations to the winners of the Deadly Awards for indigenous Australians, including singer Jessica Mauboy, actors Leah Purcell and Luke Carroll, and musicians Gurrumul Yunupingu and the Saltwater Band. There's more here.

Susan's back on the boil

Posted October 15th, 2009 by debritz

The cover art and track-list for Susan Boyle's long-await CD I Dreamed a Dream has been released. Tracks include the title song plus standards, inspirational tunesd and pop and rock songs including Daydream Believer, Wild Horses, Cry Me a River, Amazing Grace, The End of The World and Silent Night. Will this be the best-selling album in the lead-up to Christmas? I'd say it's a very strong chance.

If I were a carpenter ...

Posted October 12th, 2009 by debritz

If you're a mainstream Australian musician, what's worse than having your music played in pubs and clubs and not getting paid for it? Possible answer: not having it played at all. Clubs Australia plans to get around the upcoming increase in fees charged by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia by playing music by independent artists and US artists. The issue of whether venues should pay to play music is a vexed one. It could be argued that playing the song provides free publicity for the artist and might encourage punters who like what they hear to purchase it. And -- as I'm already playing devil's advocate -- it could also be argued that musicians have no more right to be paid every time their song is played than a carpenter does every time a guest opens the door he installed at your house.

Top of the Popes

Posted October 3rd, 2009 by debritz

The Pope's voice is to feature on an album, Music from the Vatican: Alma Mater. It features liturgical music by Simon Boswell, Stefano Mainetti and Nour Eddine, not -- as I hoped -- lively numbers such as Tom Lehrer's Vatican Rag:

Damien Leith short-changed by Idol?

Posted September 19th, 2009 by debritz

If Australian Idol isn't already destined to sink like Big Brother after poor ratings this year, this story might help push it over the edge. Damien Leith claims he didn't get a cent from the 2006 Idol album, The Winner's Journey, despite the fact that many people bought it to help give his career a boost. Apparently the fine print in the Idol contract meant all the royalties to the contestants' performances on the show belong to the producers. Presumably the producers will have a comeback, but since so many Idol finalists (and one or two of the winners) are never going to have a longterm career in music, the whole thing seems sordid, churlish and money-grabbing.

Blast from the past

Posted September 12th, 2009 by debritz

There's some sort of poetic justice about this ad for a gig being held at the Step Inn in the Valley on September 25. Those of us who remember the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era will know that for more than a decade after the political demise of Gough Whitlam, Bjelke-Petersen was blaming the evil federal Labor government for all manner of things that didn't go his way. Now, apparently, it turns out to be BJ's fault that we didn't get a free Rolling Stones gig in Brisbane way back when he ruled the show*.

* The poster does concede that this story might be made up.

Quiz answer

Posted September 11th, 2009 by debritz

John (Winston Lennon), James (Paul McCartney), George (Harrison) and Richard ("Ringo Starr" Starkey).

Quiz time

Posted September 11th, 2009 by debritz

In the week that has seen the release of the Fab Four's back catalogue, digitally remastered, and of a special version of the Rock Star video game, here's a timely quiz question:
What were the given first names of the four members of The Beatles?
Answer here.

Too much Beatles?

Posted September 7th, 2009 by debritz

It's not just 4BH's 4FAB that's playing back-to-back Beatles in Brisbane. Rival digital station 4KQ Plus is also playing the Fab Four on full rotation.

Noel Gallagher quits Oasis

Posted August 29th, 2009 by debritz

The BBC reports that Noel Gallagher has quit Oasis because he can no longer work with his brother Liam. I can't understand why Noel - the talented one who writes the songs and sings as well as Liam - has stuck around this long. I'm sure he could make a more-than-comfortable living as a solo artist.

Yellow Submarine resurfaces

Posted August 23rd, 2009 by debritz

Variety reports that film director Robert Zemeckis and the Disney company want to remake Yellow Submarine as a 3D film with possible stage mmusical and Cirque du Soleil spin-offs. The original 1968 George Dunning film was a psychedilc trip (who would have thought Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a drug reference?) but I'm guessing this one will be more family friendly. Although the rights haven't been sorted out, the remaining Beatles have been rather accommodating in terms of licensing their music lately, so it could be a starter.

Disappearing discs

Posted August 19th, 2009 by debritz

The other day, a Facebook friend noted how they were outnumbered by staff at a video store. Now comes news that music downloads will exceed CD sales in the US next year and globally by 2016. Soon CDs and DVDs, both invented in my lifetime, will be museum pieces.
PS: When they were introduced in the 1980s, CDs were said to be indestructible. Now it doesn't matter if they are or not.

Has the fat lady sung?

Posted August 17th, 2009 by debritz

Anybody who has been going to opera for a while will have noticed a big change in recent times. The stars aren't just supposed to stand there and sing, they're expected to be able to act, too. And, more importantly, they're expected to look the part.OK, so it might be hard to get a teenage Juliet or Lucia, but audiences generally aren't going to buy it if the singer is clearly on the verge of collecting a pension. Equally, an athritic Alfredo or a clearly well-fed Rodolfo would raise eyebrows. And when we see lovers depicted on stage, we have a right to expect some sort of chemistry between them. The Telegraph has a story about the trend to cast sexy young singers in opera here. But is it an issue of craving credibility or bowing to prejudice?

Down Under decoded

Posted August 3rd, 2009 by debritz

For Brits and anybody else confused about the meaning of the Men at Work hit Downunder - now at the centre of a lawsuit because of its use of the the tune from the kids' song Kookaburra - the BBC has produced this handy guide.

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