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Recap of top stories for the second half of this week
Sebastian Bach Going Country
antiMusic reports: "Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach of Skid Row fame," begins a Billboard article about "Gone Country 2." Really what band was he in? Can you say it again? Yes, we know glasshouses, but that was pretty funny. Hats off to (former?) Billboard writer Ken Tucker of Billboard fame.

Now back on topic, seems ol' Sebastian will join Irene "Fifteen Minutes of Fame" Cara, Mikalah "I was on American Idol" Gordon, Jermaine "My brother is famous" Jackson, along with Lorenzo "Hey I can sing too" Lamas and Sean "Remember me?" Young as the contestants on CMT's "Gone Country 2".

You'll have to wait until August to watch this train wreck with John Rich judging and hosting it. Billboard describes the premis as thus, "the show will immerse the celebrities in all things country for a chance to break out as a country star. Each celebrity will be paired two Nashville songwriters with whom they will write a country song." - more on this story

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Paula Judged As A Fake
antiMusic reports: John Rich of the multiplatinum country duo Big & Rich isn't cutting American Idol's Paula Abdul any slack after she made a major blunder last week on the show when she "judged" a performance before it happened. Rich will be a judge on Nashville Star when it makes the move to NBC in June, and he had some strong words for Abdul and Idol, calling their credibility into question.

Here are some quotes from an MSNBC report: "'American Idol' infuriates me as an artist," Rich said at an NBC press event for Nashville Star. "They're being fake about it. When you can't make a cognizant comment about someone's performance and you're commenting on something that happened the day before, why don't you just walk up onstage and slap them right across the face while you're at it? As an artist, I would just flip them the bird and walk off the stage. ... She wasn't even paying attention to what was going on."

"The reason their ratings are going into the toilet right now is because the American public cannot stand when it comes to reality," Rich said. "You can tell when somebody's comment was scripted. You can tell when they told an artist, 'Wear this, and sing that, and do that.' That's not the way it's going to work on this show," he said of "Nashville Star." - more on this story

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McCartney To Give Away Latest CD
antiMusic reports: UK subscribers to the Mail will find something special included in their Sunday paper on May 18th. How does a free Paul McCartney CD grab you?

Macca Central reports: The Mail On Sunday has concluded an attention-grabbing deal with Paul McCartney to give away the former Beatle's most recent studio album Memory Almost Full. The album, originally released in June 2007 by Starbucks' Hear Music label, will come free with the May 18 edition of the paper.

The move represents a spectacular coup for The Mail On Sunday, which has previously given away entire studio albums from artists including Prince, Simply Red and, most recently, UB40, whose new studio set Twentyfourseven was included with yesterday's (Sunday) edition. Memory Almost Full has sold almost 100,000 copies in the UK to date, according to Official Charts Company figures, peaking at number five in the albums chart. - more on this story

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Billy Idol Joins Def Leppard Tour
antiMusic reports: That "Rebel Yell" you just heard was the reaction of some 80s rock fans when they heard the news that Def Leppard have tapped Billy Idol to support them on a string of summer dates.

Def Leppard is in the midst of a world tour and have already crossed North America twice and they return this summer for another leg of the tour. This time in support of their new album "Songs from the Sparkle Lounge".

The good news is that Billy Idol will support them on seven of those dates. The bad news, at least for U.S. fans, is five of those dates are in Canada. But it may give diehards an excuse for a road trip. Support acts for the first two dates of the outing have not been announced yet, so there may still be hope. - more on this story

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Coldplay To Outdo Radiohead?
antiMusic reports: It appears that Coldplay plan to somehow out Radiohead, Radiohead with a new "marketing" plan. Gigwise has the story: Coldplay will announce a new marketing campaign later this month, which their manager says will have "a huge global reach".

Dave Holmes, the band's long time partner, said the idea was "pretty significant" and that he couldn't "afford to have it get out."

Holmes' announcement comes after it was revealed that the band's new single 'Violet Hill' was downloaded 2 million times for free from their website. - more on this story

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The Police Final Show
antiMusic reports: The Police reunion will come to a smashing conclusion this summer in the city where it all began for the band. The group joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference on Tuesday to announce that the band will play their final concert somewhere in NYC sometime this summer.

The only real details released on Tuesday had to do with the charity aspect of the gig and The Police's commitment of $1 million to a tree planting initiative in New York. In a statement on Sting.com they announced, "The Police also announced that their final concert ever will be a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting the production of arts programming for Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York. Tickets will be available nationally online via Thirteen/WNET and WLIW. More details about the benefit show, including venue and ticket information, will be released at a later date."

"We kicked off our very first American tour at CBGB's in 1978 and this summer, thirty years later, our journey will come full circle as we play our final show here in New York City," said The Police. "We are honored to partner with public television and have a deep respect for their commitment to arts and culture." - Go to Sting.com for more info than you will ever need on the tree planting donation.

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more stories including: 50 Cent Robbed- Sebastian Bach Going Country- Mandela Bday Bash- Damiera- Telsa- Mike Vallely- more

Disturbed Posers?
antiMusic reports: A member of Dillinger Escape Plan basically says that Disturbed are posers. He's seen it with his own eyes. Rockdirt has the story: Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Ben Weinman spoke with Australia's Beat magazine about how astonished the band was after seeing Disturbed soundchecking before a show in England.

Weinman said that the Chicago rockers were "practicing where they were going to walk and when they were going to put their leg up on the monitor and pose. That was weird for us. There are times where I don't even know where I am."

Regarding that on-stage mayhem, Weinman said, "We've always been a band that has an element of unpredictability. At the same time, there's a lot of people who think our music is just noise. But everything we do has a purpose and has a meaning." - more Rockdirt

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Gang of Four Now Duo of Two
Pampelmoose reports: The original and best-loved line-up of famed post-punk icons Gang of Four reunited in 2005 to great acclaim and success - unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham are moving on, although singer Jon King and guitar-player Andy Gill will continue, focusing on writing and recording new music as Gang of Four.

Allen says, "At the beginning of April, I decided that I could no longer continue to be a member of Gang of Four. My ability to give 100% to the band is limited and I feel that if I can't do so, then I shouldn't continue. As I expand my research and thinking about contemporary music distribution on Pampelmoose.com, and as I focus on online technology and social networking at Nemo Design here in Portland, I find myself conflicted about how the band's new music should be released. To retain any credibility for Pampelmoose.com about what the future of music distribution will look like, I have to move on and not hold back Jon and Andy's music plans.

"I have had a side project for a while now with John Askew of Tracker and Menomena's drummer Danny Seim called Faux Hoax (pronounced Folks), and I look forward to fun times finding ways to get our music into peoples' hands in unique ways." - more on this story

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Top Metal Mascots
antiMusic reports: Gibson has compiled a list of the Top 4 metal mascots. Here is their intro plus a snippet from each. You'll have to click on the full story to read it all: No one single genre, outside the world of professional sports, has dominated the field of mascots quite like heavy metal. Mascots are almost as old as the genre itself. Here is a brief history of heavy metal's five most savage icons. [they only posted 4 -ed]

Iron Maiden's Eddie (full name Eddie the Head) was born without a body. The creation of illustrator Derek Riggs, the original Eddie was based on an image from the side of a World War II era Japanese tank [actually it was Vietnam - ed]. A mess of rotted flesh, muscles, and tendons with charged punk rock hair, Ed's graced every Maiden album cover to date.

Megadeth's Vic Rattlehead first came to the attention of the metal-buying public as the grotesque face of Megadeth. He was featured on their first four records and just recently resurrected as the band's mascot after a lengthy absence.

Motörhead's Snaggletooth brings a punk bite to the heavy metal mascot set. The bastardized War Pig with SS-styled spiked helmet, chain link necklace, Iron Cross, skull, and other assorted ephemera represents everything heavy metal stands for.

The Misfits' Crimson Ghost was left behind almost everywhere the band toured. Notorious for showing up to gigs with their Crimson Ghost stencil and a can of white spray-paint, the band left its mark on any fan willing enough to dedicate their leather jacket to these New Jersey goons. - Read it all and watch the tribute videos for the mascots

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Crazy Vanilla Ice 911 Call
TMZ reports: TMZ has obtained a bizarre, backwoods 911 call made on April 10 after Vanilla Ice allegedly kicked and hit his wife Laura.

You gotta hear this call -- halfway through, Laura starts talking to the dispatch operator like he's a couple's counselor! Too funny.

As we first reported, Laura withdrew her complaint against the former "rapper" and the case was thrown out. - listen to it here

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100K Hendrix Sex Tape Challenge
Vivid reports: A controversial video concerning the sexual escapades of Jimi Hendrix is the real thing, says rock 'n roll experts who have seen it, according to Vivid Entertainment, which will release the DVD in stores today and simultaneously make it available for download from its website.

Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch said his company is so confident of the authenticity of the 40-year-old footage in "Jimi Hendrix The Sex Tape" that it recently offered $100,000 to Experience Hendrix, LLC ("Experience Hendrix"), the family company of the legendary guitarist, if it can provide verifiable proof that Hendrix is not the "star" of the tape.

The controversy over the tape escalated after Experience Hendrix publicly denied the tape actually showed Hendrix having sex with two unidentified brunettes. Mr. Hirsch said: "The press release/statement from Experience Hendrix proves nothing. Vivid took considerable time and spent a substantial sum of money to authenticate the footage and we are very comfortable that this is the real thing. We believe that those who say otherwise are relying on their emotions to make unsubstantiated claims. If Experience Hendrix can prove definitively that it's not Jimi Hendrix on this footage then we will pay them $100,000." - more on this story

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more stories including: Crazy Vanilla Ice 911 Call- Double Throw Rag Releases- Blackmore's Night- Cannibal Corpse- Elvis Costello Listening Party- more

Nick Cave Trashing Hotel Rooms and Taking Drugs
Radar reports: Australian-born rocker Nick Cave has spent decades spinning gorgeous, apocalyptic tales of murder, catastrophe and loss. Now, happily married and drug free after years of heroin abuse, the Prince of Darkness may finally be lightening up. Radar's Executive Editor Aaron Gell gets Cave to open up about trashing hotel rooms, drug addicted celebrities, and turning down the MTV awards.

When asked if Cave has trashed his hotel room yet: The room in this hotel isn't f**king worth trashing. Well, if you kicked over the ashtray you'd be trashing the room. It's so f**king dark in this hotel, I can't even find my room. It's like England during the blitz.

Cave on the bleakness drug addicted celebrities' experience: The only thing that's bleak about Amy Winehouse is that she's pursued by the media the whole time. Anyone who's a drug addict has these things going on. It's what happens. Everyone knows that. It's just particularly difficult because you have the whole of Middle England watching you do it. You can't go out the front door to score, or go into rehab, or whatever, without doing it publicly. It's really f**ked up. It's in no one's interest for them to get better. It's certainly not in the media's interest for Britney to, you know, suddenly come out and say, "Hey I'm alright!' They want to keep her as close to dead as they can. They don't want her to die of course. That would kill the golden calf. But it's a horrible indictment on the whole society. - more on this story

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Weezer Leak- Leppard Down Under- Pussies Cuss- Dizzee Rascal Invasion- Portishead's Third is 7th
antiMusic reports: More quicks for this fine Thursday. According to Gigwise: A number of tracks from the highly anticipated new Weezer album have appeared online over a month before it's due to be released. 'Troublemaker', 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)' and 'Pork and Beans', are amongst eight songs which are circulating across the internet. more

According to Planet Rock , Def Leppard is rumored to be planning a tour of Australia in November, to be announced in the coming weeks.

Ironic quote of the day comes from Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. "I've always tried to use intelligent lyrics. I think it's kind of a shame when singers say, 'F**k,' just for the sake of it. You can tell when guys are pussies and they use a bunch of dirty words in their songs to make them have some kind of cred." Read the context here.

Dizzee Rascal kicks off "The No Chiefs Allowed Tour" tonight in DC at the 9.30 Club. The outing is support of the U.S. release of " Maths+English," which hit stores on April 29th. The two week run also features El-P and will hit markets across the U.S., with one stop in Canada, before wrapping at the El Rey Theatre in LA on May 22nd. From there he heads back home to Europe for a ton of festival appearances. date

Portishead's THIRD, the long-awaited follow up to their 1997 self-titled release, debuted at #7 on Billboard's Top 200. This is their highest chart rank ever in the U.S. and their first week sales are equal to the debut week of Portishead (from September 1997) which debuted at #21. - their homepage

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Taking Back Sunday Lineup Change
antiMusic reports: What if you were once a "hot" band but now you make an major announcement about your lineup and it takes a few days for the media to pick up on it? That's what happened to Taking Back Sunday this week. They announced a lineup change on Monday and it took a fan emailing us to learn about it. They obviously still have rabid fans, but someone sure dropped the ball in the PR dept on this one.

Here is the big news, the band has finally found their new guitarist. You'll remember that Fred Mascherino made a sudden departure from the group last year. And now almost 7 months to the day later, they finally got around to replacing him.

Their new axeman is Matthew Fazzi of the band Facing New York, who had toured with the group in 2006. - Here is what the band had to say on their Myspace page about their newest member

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My Chemical Romance Kill The Black Parade
PR reports: My Chemical Romance have set a release date and other details for their long-promised new live CD+DVD set. The record is titled The Black Parade is Dead [Live] and is due out June 24, 2008.

Along with the normal release, the band is planning an extra-fancy version in a pinewood coffin which will include death certificates for each member, hand painted "Day of the Dead" masks and three downloadable live tracks.

The CD and DVD feature concert highlights from the huge Palacio de los Deportes sports arena in Mexico City on October 7th, 2007 and the intimate Maxwell's club in Hoboken, NJ, on October 24th, 2007.
- more on this story

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Open Letter To Metallica
antiMusic reports: You have to imagine that it's fun to be Dave Grohl. He wakes up in the morning and he can flip a coin to decide which music project to work on, or he might even fire up his computer and decide, "today I'm going to write an open letter to Metallica!". That's just what he did. The letter will amuse some fans, anger others and confuse a lot more. We won't read into what he had to say and let you decide the message he was trying to convey with the following:

Dear Metallica, Hey, it's Dave! Remember me? Yeah, I'm the guy that's been listening to your band faithfully since 1983. I bought your first album 'Kill 'Em All' from a mailorder catalogue called Under The Rainbow, I think. Actually I can't remember. It was 1983 for Christsakes! But that album changed my life and I've been listening to your albums ever since (even 'St Anger'!).

I can't wait to hear the new sh*t, and no matter what you guys do I'll always be first one at the shop waiting to hear it. I'm sure you'll come out and blow everybody's f**kin' minds, because you're f**kin' METALLICA!

Good luck. And don't release it until it's kick-ass.

Yours, Dave Grohl.

P.S. Are you finished recording the drums yet?
- are you amused, angered or confused? post your comments

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