Day In Rock 1/12: Eddie "Van Halen Reunion Soon"- Ozzy Gets 'Prince'ly Gift- Finch Dump Drummer- Chimaira Reissue- Prodigy Go Punk?- Damageplan Tracks- Systematic Departure- Warped Bad Religion- The Darkness Catching On-  plus Zack Wylde- Spineshack- Hip-Hop Played Out- Rock TV- more
by Keavin Wiggins
The Day in Rock Monday- antiMUSIC.com's look at Top Rock News Stories From the past weekend

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Eddie "Van Halen Reunion Soon"
Blabbermouth reports: (From Friday)An official announcement regarding a VAN HALEN reunion with Sammy Hagar will be made "sooner rather than later," guitarist Eddie Van Halen told Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels of the Davenport, Iowa radio station KCQQ in an exclusive 20-minute interview Friday morning (Jan. 9). 

"The deal was we heard that there was going to be some sort of VAN HALEN reunion announcement tonight at a place called Walnut Creek in California where Sammy Hagar is playing," Bill Michaels told Australia's Undercover News. "One of the guitarists is leaving his band at the end of this show so we just called Eddie on a whim and he wouldn't confirm anything of course. His words to us were "it will be sooner rather than later" and wouldn't elaborate at all." 

Hagar is scheduled to perform at a charity gig tonight for Oakland manager Tony LaRussa in Walnut Creek, California. "I had no idea that this concert was even happening tonight," Bill told Undercover. "Someone from a VAN HALEN fan forum emailed us and asked if we knew anything about it. Again, on a whim we called him." 

So what if there is no announcement at Walnut Creek? "We've heard so much about reunions and that something is going to happen in 2004," Bill said. "Now we hear about members of Sammy Hagar's band leaving or quitting and management agencies signing together. I have hopefully but slightly pessimistic. But this would be typical VAN HALEN fashion to pull it off like this to the end." 

**UPDATE**: According to the initial reports from the Walnut Creek show, Hagar made no mention of VAN HALEN during his performance. - Click Here for the Full Story 

The wait is the hardest part... 

Ozzy Gets 'Prince'ly Gift
Rockdirt.com reports: The Sunday Mirror reports Prince Charles sent Ozzy Osbourne a bottle of Scotch as a get well gesture, perhaps forgetting the rocker's battle with long-term alcoholism. "Ozzy is doing well and is on the road to recovery," wife Sharon said. "And he is even better since he got a present from Prince Charles. He sent my husband a bottle of Scotch. Of course he hasn't touched it." - Click Here for the Full Story 

Finch Dump Drummer
Punkbands.com reports: According to our friends over at punknews.org: Numerous sources are reporting that Finch have parted ways with their drummer of 5 years, Alex Pappas. Sources close to the band have informed me that the split was caused because the band wanted to go in a different direction stylistically than Pappas' drumming allowed. 

Rumored to be filling the drum throne for the group, at least for recording purposes, is Marc Allen of Counterfit. No word if he will be a permanent member of the group, or even travel with them to Japan later this month when Finch plays the 2-day Sonic Mania fest in Tokyo and Osaka. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Chimaira Reissue
The PRP reports: Chimaira will be re-releasing their latest album "The Impossibility Of Reason" overseas on February 02nd. The outing will be made available as a two disc affair with all-new artwork. Disc 1 will contain the original album along with the bonus track "Army Of Me", the video for the track "Down Again", and a behind the scenes featurette on the making of the album itself. Entitled "Reasoning The Impossible", disc 2 will feature the following track listing: 
01 - "Indifferent To Suffering"
02 - "Without Moral Restraint"
03 - "Fascination Street" (The Cure Cover)
04 - "Let Go" (Demo)
05 - "Pass Out Of Existence" (Demo)
06 - "Severed" (Demo)
07 - "Forced Life" (Demo)
08 - "Dead Inside" (Demo)
09 - "Power Trip" (Live)
10 - "Cleansation" (Live)
In addition, Disc 2 also features the videos for the tracks "Pure Hatred" and "Sp Lit". - Click Here for the Full Story 

Prodigy Go Punk?
NME.com reports: THE PRODIGY have revealed details of their first studio album since 1997's 'THE FAT OF THE LAND', and said that it sounds 'sexier' and 'punk in attitude'. 

Songs expected to appear on the record include 'Sandstorm', 'The Way It Is', 'Lovebuzz', 'Girls', 'Who You're Fooling', 'Action', 'Slang Technology', 'No Souvenirs', 'Wake Up' and 'The Gun'. 

Liam Howlett said: "The schedule is for the album to come out in June-July 2004. And it really is f***in' coming out this time, it's no joke." 

The producer is also considering surprising fans by secretly releasing a new track. He explained; "I think we may put something out on a white label, and people won't know what it is. I think people will be surprised when they hear this record. I want people to go 'f***, is that The Prodigy? I didn't expect that.' It's different this album, it's f***in' different." 

Describing the sound of the new as-yet-unnamed album in an interview with nekozine.co.uk Howlett said: "It sounds sexier! The tracks I've done sound like me, they sound like The Prodigy, but they kind of have... they are punk in attitude, but not kind of 'I'm gonna f***in scream it down your throat." 

He added: "It is more beats and hard production and kind of toughness that's on a street level." - Click Here for the Full Story 

Damageplan Tracks
Digital Noise reports: The track listing for Damageplan's upcoming debut album, "New Found Power", has been released and is as follows:
Wake Up NFP (New Found Power)
Blunt Force Trauma
Save Me
f*** You (featuring Corey Taylor)
Cold Blooded
Reborn (featuring Zakk Wylde)
Blink of An Eye
Breathing New Life
Moment Of Truth
Soulbleed (featuring Zakk Wylde)

 "New Found Power" will be released on February 10th through Elektra Records. The album was produced by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul and recorded at Dimebag Darrell's home studio, Chasin Jason. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Systematic Departure
Digital Noise reports: Systematic bassist John Mark Bechtel has left the band. No reason was given for his departure. 

Betchel, who joined the band as a replacement for Nick St. Dennis back in 2002, played bass on the band's sophomore album, "Pleasure To Burn". 

Bechtel will be reportedly playing bass for Coretez when they open for Hatebreed on January 28th and 29th at Downtown in Farmingdale, NY. It's currently unknown if he will become a permanent member of the band. 

Coretez is the band made up of former Ill Nino members Roger Vasquez and Marc Rizzo. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Warped Bad Religion
RIFTrock.com reports: Bad Religion has confirmed that they will be part of this summer's Vans Warped Tour 2004. They will join fellow Warped Tour veterans NOFX, New Found Glory and Flogging Molly as well as newcomers Yellowcard and Thursday. - Click Here for the Full Story 

The Darkness Catching On
siN's metal news reports: THE DARKNESS have scored the title of 'highest climbing album' on this week's US chart, giving the band their first appearance in the top 100. Their album, 'Permission To Land', went from number 173 to 92 in one week on the Billboard chart. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Zack Wylde Laughs at RS
Blabbermouth reports: OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Zakk Wylde recently spoke to Sleaze Grinder about Rolling Stone magazine's much-criticized list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. 

"Put it this way," Wylde began. "When Eddie Van Halen is number 70 and Randy Rhoads is number 85, I mean, bottom line is I have to play Randy Rhoads' s*** every night. I idolize Randy Rhoads. I still got posters of Randy Rhoads in my garage right now, in my weight room. I carry them on the bus. I love Randy Rhoads to death man, so I mean, the whole thing is just like, I've got to play Randy's s*** every night. Last time I checked, Joan Jett can't play f**king 'Mr. Crowley', you know what I'm saying? 

"You've got to laugh at the thing," Wylde continued. "I mean, Joe Satriani isn't in there. Steve Vai isn't in there. Yngwie Malmsteen isn't in that f**king list. Slash isn't in there. They are some of the sickest guitar players that have ever walked this planet. I mean, I'm a guitar player. Do you know how good f**king Yngwie is? It's beyond f**king sick. The fact that Yngwie isn't in it is just f**king mind-boggling to me. People can say what they want about Yngwie, but it's just like naming the 10 greatest singers of all time and not putting Pavarotti in it, you know what I'm saying? Yngwie is a virtuoso. 

"Obviously Jimi Hendrix is going to be the patron son of guitar, like Babe Ruth. No matter who hits more home runs than The Babe, The Babe is going to be, you know, The Babe. But the thing is, Jimi Hendrix couldn't play 'Spanish Fly' or 'Eruption'. Technically. I'm telling you. Flat out. Just couldn't do it. Jimi got a bunch of gear that nobody ever had before, you know what I am saying? So, he was able to do it before anyone else, and I understand that, but Eddie brought it to a whole other level technically. 

"As far as I'm concerned, Eddie Van Halen should be number one. And then Randy Rhoads would have to be in the top three or top five. He'd have to be." - Click Here for the Full Story 

Spineshack Farwell
siN's metal news reports: Drummer Tommy Decker, posted the following two messages on the bands official message board: 

i guess you all know now that the rumours are true. im sorry that we didnt let you in on it sooner but we wanted to wait wait until all the details were finalized. I know some of you feel betrayed, but we let the news out as soon as we could. this has been something that has been coming for years. weve been growing apart musically since before the height of callousness. the four of us have taken our music as far as we could together, and now its time to move on. i hope you can all understand and respect our reasons. ill keep you informed on whats going on were working on new stuff as we speak. Spineshank is one of the most important things in my life and i want only the best for it. we are looking for a new singer, if the new stuff feels like spineshank, then we will continue on with the name. a big part of the split was because the 3 of us want to play heavier music than jonny does. now we are able to find someone who shares our vision- Click Here for the Full Story 

Hip-hop Played Out
Billboard reports: (Abridged) During the past year, hip-hop and R&B have so pervasively dominated top 40 radio that the line between pop and R&B/hip-hop has become more of a blurry smudge. 

But as history tells, the dominant sound that defines top 40 is as cyclical as the seasons, and this latest trend may be showing signs of wear as a number of young male rock bands -- such as Simple Plan, Trapt and Maroon5 -- flex muscle at mainstream radio. 

Programmers admit that too much of any one sound is never good for the long-term health of the format. They insist that they're searching for more balance on their playlists to bring the format back toward the center -- if only they can find the hits. 

Guy Zapoleon, president of Zapoleon Media Strategies, which oversees Billboard/Airplay Monitor's HitPredictor chart, agrees that the massive influx of R&B/hip-hop product may polarize listeners. 

"We're definitely in the doldrums phase, where top 40 radio is suffering from a lack of good music," he adds. "I think the format has been holding its own, just not at the heights of the glory years of the late '90s and 2000. 

"Top 40 has been coming up with fewer new ideas, and it's taking less chances with its talent, contesting and even music," he says. 

As well, it appears that top 40 programmers today are not necessarily playing what the general public is most interested in hearing. 

John Ivey, PD of KIIS Los Angeles adds, "We want Justin and Britney and Hilary to work. It's our job to create the excitement for them. We're supposed to be the authorities here -- if you tell your audience that a record is a hit, they'll believe it." - Click Here for the Full Story 

60% of what is wrong with radio can be summed up by that last quote. 

DreamWorks Nightmare
Billboard reports: DreamWorks Records, which was purchased by Universal Music Group, is laying off about 100 staffers Friday, sources say. 

DreamWorks' business affairs, finance and executive offices are still operating through the transition, but most other departments are being closed. 

UMG, which is incorporating DreamWorks into its Interscope Geffen A&M wing, could not be reached for comment. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Indies Will Save Rock
Chris Morris of Billboard reports: (abridged)A few years ago, one of my favorite rock bands, the Dictators, posed a musical question: "Who will save rock 'n' roll?" 

Today -- as it has been for decades -- the answer is "independent labels." 

The White Stripes issued three albums on Long Beach, Calif.-based Sympathy for the Record Industry before releasing their platinum-plus breakthrough, "Elephant," on V2. 

Interscope's Yeah Yeah Yeahs made their bow with a three-song EP on New York's Shifty Records, later reissued by Chicago's Touch & Go. Hot Hot Heat, now with Warner Bros., initially dropped its album on Seattle's Sub Pop. 

RCA released the debut album by the Strokes. But months before "Is This It" dropped in 2001, the New York quintet was unveiled on an indie EP, which was largely responsible for firing the mammoth buzz in the U.K. that turned the group into the toast of the English and American music presses. 

However, in the current climate, it is also possible to foresee a fresh outpouring of exciting new music from feisty indie labels. And it's probable that, once some of the new bands have established themselves on the indie side, the majors will take a flyer on their music. 

There are several simple reasons why the indies have consistently played a key role in the regeneration of rock'n'roll during the genre's history. 

With their ears close to the ground, indie-label operators are the first to pick up the tremors of a distant cultural temblor. They are willing to invest the time and the energy to develop music that is frequently a slow-rolling commercial phenomenon. 

Most important, the indie mind-set combines entrepreneurial zeal with a certain aesthetic intransigence. 

Indie label owners put out their records to make money, but the game is never just about about making money. It's about generating ideas -- some of which may not achieve immediate mass consumption. 

The torch was lit by Elvis Presley and Sam Phillips, the original indie rockers. It will likely continue to burn bright in the years ahead. - Click Here for the Full Story 

Labels Finally Get it
AP reports: Richard Warner and his family have spent thousands of dollars over the years on music, buying more than 500 CDs and 700 vinyl albums. Now Warner is surrendering $4,000 to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit the price of his 17-year-old daughter's habit of downloading music for free. 

The 49-year-old California wine merchant was ensnared in a September wave of recording industry lawsuits aimed at chilling illegal downloading. But while he's angry at the music labels for suing the loyal customer he considers himself to be, Warner has signed up for an industry-backed online music service. 

"I encouraged my daughter to enjoy music, and I did not want to make this a negative in our life," Warner said. "We're not going to stop enjoying music." 

After four straight years of declining CD sales, the recording industry is hanging hopes for a recovery on music fans like Warner going digital and being willing to pay for it. 

More than 19.2 million digital tracks were sold online in the last six months, according to Nielsen Soundscan, helping to narrow the music industry's losses last year. - Click Here for the Full Story 

If you fight the future, you become history

Rock TV
Rockdirt.com reports: Rock acts on television this week include the Shins, who perform on the Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday and Maroon 5, who perform on MTV's Total Request Live on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Sharon Osbourne is returning to her show on Monday, where she'll discuss her husband Ozzy Osbourne's recover from his quad bike accident. - Click Here for the Full Story