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This is the return of what will be a regular feature: a forum to discuss music, artists, comings and goings, and--yes--the occasional bit of gossip. As such, we at the Indy rely on you to keep us abreast of your musical endeavors and concerns, happenings and world events that impact the North Cackalacky musical community. In other words, this column belongs to everybody. So if you think we're missing something, or that we suck, well, you know where we live.

In scandals
With the recording industry reeling from an overall bad year, made even worse after Sept. 11, former Mammoth Records owner Jay Faires found his NYC-based company, JCOR Records, in deep financial dookie. Distributed by the Interscope-Universal Group, JCOR has yet to declare bankruptcy. But the company unceremoniously closed the doors to its New York and Los Angeles offices Jan. 15 after not meeting employee payroll for the previous two weeks (one source says four weeks). At press time, JCOR's Web site was still up and featured a "positions available" link where you could still apply for an "unpaid intern" position. Now there's an opportunity.

JCOR's phones are disconnected and attempts to reach Faires failed, but industry insiders, including several online hip-hop sites, are buzzing about the JCOR "scandal," which includes skimming employees' 401K payments and failing to reimburse employees who'd racked up JCOR expenses on their credit cards. (One source says this number alone is more than $250,000.) Former local and Mammoth employee Dan Gill, who was JCOR's general manager, didn't return the Indy's phone calls.

According to one insider, Faires had to hire security after stiffing vendors. "A lot of these people came up in the drug trade: You don't pay, you get beat up," he said. No word yet on where JCOR's acts, most notably old-school, heavy-cred rapper Eightball and MJG, Slum Village or Grammy-nominated soulstress Mystic, are going to end up.

In high-profile significant others
In what sounds like a script right out of a teen drama, guitarist-songwriter Andy Herod (The Comas) has been spending a lot of time in Wilmington these days with young actress Michelle Williams, who plays "Jen" on the WB Network's Dawson's Creek. Equally as important, The Comas have acquired a bubble machine--you know, one of those things that produces scads of flyaway, iridescent soap spheres. Hey, it worked for Lawrence Welk.

The nuclear metal family
And speaking of teen TV, or those of you in touch with your inner teen, put both thumbs in the air for The Osbournes (think of it as Ozzy and Sharon), touted as "the world's first reality TV sitcom." And, since truth is always stranger than fiction, there's no way a sitcom writer could come up with anything this refreshing: a burnt-out, heavily tattooed dad with his efficient, biz-savvy rock manager wife, Sharon, and his two scrappy kids (nerdy-but-lovable teen Jack and daughter Kelly, who wears short, ratted-up fuchsia hair and a bratty pout). Like any siblings, Jack and Kelly fight like cats and dogs--at one point rolling around on the carpet, cuffing each other half-seriously--and both whining to their parents about how impossible the other is. We see the Oz baffled as to how to program his new, mega-screen TV ("I'm a simple man," he mutters, as the TV refuses to budge from the Weather Channel). Finally, as any 21st-century dad would do, he yells for his digital-savvy son to come fix the problem. Jack bounds down the Ozzie and Harriet-style staircase, gets the set up and running and joins dear old dad on the couch for a spot of telly--a touching family moment. Sharon, an industry tough in her own right, keeps her bat-chomping hubby purring like a pussycat in this F-word laden updating of those sappy late-'50s early-'60s family shows. This is a family that, beneath all the bluster, is truly crazy--but mainly about each other. Catch The Osbournes Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. on MTV.

Hey, it's only rock 'n' roll
The Lincoln Theatre canceled an upcoming date by visceral rockers GWAR after they were tipped off by an Alcohol Law Enforcement officer who said that the city of Raleigh told him to write the club up for any violation he could during the messy costumed rockers' show. Concerns cited were profanity, nudity and drug use from GWAR's fans. "[They] basically think that a huge group of people follow this band from town to town 'like Widespread Panic' and cause fights and use drugs," says the Lincoln Theatre's Pat Dickenson. All this strikes the Indy (and the folks at the Lincoln Theatre) as pretty silly stuff, but they canceled the show rather than risk legal problems.

In clubs
Durham's back on the map with Ringside booking local bands and Boo Kaufman (formerly of Boo's Hideaway) handling music scheduling for Bully's Basement (the former location of Under the Street). Word has it the place has been soundproofed (the main reason why Bully's used to only book acoustic groups), and Boo's been bringing in a steady stream of solid acts with, as you'd expect, a focus on alt-country. A friend who saw Trailer Bride last weekend noted that "the woman's toilet was boiling, really!" (She first noticed when her butt started getting toasty). How many clubs can you say that about?

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