Music's 3R's 04.05.10: Erykah Badu Gets Naked, Lady Gaga Rider, Nas/Damian Marley, More
Posted by Aaron Titan on 04.05.2010
From Erykah Badu's legal trouble over her nude-in-public music video and Lady Gaga's modest tour rider to the new collaborative album from Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, NOFX's gross-out performance at SXSW, and a recap of last week's American Idol shows, 411's Aaron Titan brings you all the Right, wRong, and Ridiculous in the music world in this weeks Music 3Rs.
Greetings: Howdy there and good morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on when you're reading this. Either way, thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Music 3R's. Aaron Titan here.
Hope you enjoyed the brand spanking new column banner. I've had that ready to go since like, November but had a ton of trouble figuring out how to upload it correctly to the site. Problem solved, so many thanks to my very talented brother Adam who is studying graphic arts in college right now.
I also designed a new header for the "Opus of the Week" section of the column. For the noobs, the "Opus of the Week" is where I give props to an album I listened to during the past week that really moved me or just kicked ass in general. You can also find a backlog list of past "Opus of the Week" recipients since I started this feature in January.
And heck, since I'm overhauling the column's style this weekend, I might as well include new Right, wRong, and Ridiculous headers for each of those three sections. Yeah, we keeps it real around here folks!
So I'm back from my trip to Cleveland and had an awesome time. Big up to Marcus for playing host to our shenanigans over the weekend! So much fun! Not included in the photos below was a great evening the Sunday before last watching WWE's annual Wrestlemania PPV spectacular.
Props to the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels in having the best match of the night and maybe of the year! What a way for Shawn to retire after a truly amazing career. I've had the opportunity to see him wrestle live several times and actually met him at a house show back in 2004. I also enjoyed Money in the Bank, which led to us getting our ALL AMERICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN CHAMPION, Jack Swagger. Cena-Batista, Edge-Jericho, and surprisingly HHH-Sheamus were also quality bouts. The Bret Hart-McMahon match was a little too convoluted for my taste, but it's nice to see Bret get some closure on the Montreal Screwjob back in 1997. I also like the renewed push this match has brought to the Hart Dynasty.
A few more photos to share with you all from Cleveland:
A view of the wonderful pub: The Winking Lizard. Great food and fair prices! I had this drink called The Rum Runner that definitely did its job efficiently.
Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians.
A view of the area in front of the Quicken-Loans Arena before the Cavs-Kings game we attended.
King James was awesome to watch live for the first time. I'll be pulling for them yeah, on that bandwagon once my beloved Chicago Bulls are officially eliminated, if they can even pull ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the eighth seed in the East
Another shot of LeBron James
Browns Stadium, home to the not-so-beloved Cleveland Browns. Good area and right down the street from the .
Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame!!!
One of several art pieces in the lobby of the Rock Hall.
A few notes about my experience at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, as I was not allowed to photograph anything inside the actual exhibits:
I had an awesome time there and spent about two-and-a-half hours just milling through all the artifacts and memorabilia they had there. There were exhibits of each era of rock music, excluding anything incredibly current following the grunge era. There was a special Motown exhibit with a lot of flashy sequin costumes worn by bands such as The Supremes, The Temptations, and the Jackson 5. At the end of our tour, we saw a special Bruce Springsteen exhibit, including Bruce's clothing worn on the Born in the USA album cover.
Some of my favorite artifacts from the museum were the following:
-Michael Jackson's sequin glove from the Dangerous Tour that he wore when performing "Billie Jean"
-Penned lyrics from Metallica's James Hetfield for the song "Hit the Lights" from the album Kill Em' All
-John Lennon's actual Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band suit he wore on the album cover
-Giant replica of Pink Floyd's "Wall" complete with inflated creatures from the movie
-Notorious B.I.G.'s leather Big Poppa jersey
So yeah, Cleveland kicks ass and I recommend passing through if you get the chance.
And with that, here's your Opus of the Week
Opus of the Week: Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
There's a funny backstory of my journey to discovering this album.
I was a bit close-minded during my college years to bands like Fall Out Boy, mostly because all the high school teenagers were donning black eyeliner and trying to dress like some depressing versions of punk rockers. The emo thing was high in popularity and Pete Wentz just pissed me off whenever I saw him on TV, so I was somewhat against Fall Out Boy.
Anyways, I had an environmental studies course during my last semester of college with what ended up becoming a very good friend of mine. We sat together in the class and ended up bonding over several fifths of whiskey and our similar tastes in music over that semester. The final presentation day of that class ended up being both of our LAST CLASSES EVER in college, so we left and started in on a fifth of whiskey in his dorm suite. I think it was Fighting Cock whiskey, though my memories of that evening cannot entirely be trusted. We eventually ended up finishing that and getting more liquor at the local grocery and ended up and his friend's house drinking and hanging out.
Some of them had started in on beer pong, which by this point I had grown reticent of, so I just sat back and proceeded to knock back an entire 1.5 liter bottle of cheap rose wine. Needless to say, my social graces filter for what I said aloud to others that night was quite gone, so when one of the residents of the house started blasting Fall Out Boy's Infinity on High, I proceeded to yell out, "WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE LISTENING TO FUCKING FALL OUT BOY FOR! THROW ON SOME SLAYER!"
The guy countered that while Fall Out Boy were getting a bad reputation, this album was DIFFERENT. He continued to act awkwardly towards me and I could tell he didn't appreciate me drinking at his house with friends we just so happened to share. Maybe me insulting his fraternity later in the night, not knowing he was a member of said frat, added to his dislike for me.
Regardless, I didn't think much of Fall Out Boy for the next year, but when I was collecting music for my Cleveland road trip, I remembered this event and decided to give Infinity on High a fair shot.
And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. I dug the riffing, Patrick Stump's vocal presentation, the poppy beat drumming, and how incredibly heavy the music got at times. The opening riff of the album on the song "Thriller" (which features some amped up shouting from Jay-Z of all people) is about as heavy as it gets with that type of music and I really got into the whole album from that point forward. "This Ain't A Scene " was a song I remembered from TV/radio at the time of the album's release and I actually enjoyed it more within the context of the album than as a single. "Fame < Infamy" is also a great emotional rocker of a song, which many of the songs on the album can be described as.
This is a really fun album and had I been a little more open at the time I first heard it in college, I could probably have been enjoying this album for over a year now. But hey, drunk Aaron Titan just happens to dig thrash metal a lot when drinking whiskey. It's an evil drink and it wants what it wants!
Titan's Key Tracks: "Thriller," "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race," "Fame < Infamy," "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?," "To Take Over, The Break's Over"
Opus of the Week Backlog:
03/29/10: Dr. Dre: 2001
03/22/10: Cypress Hill: Black Sunday
03/15/10: Maxwell: BLACKsummers'night
03/08/10: Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf
03/01/10: Adele: 19
02/22/10: The Ting Tings: We Started Nothing
02/15/10: Nirvana: Bleach
02/08/10: Down: NOLA
02/01/10: Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way
01/25/10: Lamb of God: Ashes of the Wake
01/18/10: The Clash: London Calling
For those unfamiliar with the 3R's concept, here's the breakdown. I will be reporting and commenting on happenings in the music world and categorizing all the hoopla into three sections: the Right, the wRong, and the Ridiculous. The Right will feature news, albums, and announcements music-related that I'm personally stoked about. The wRong will be the bad versions of all three of the aforementioned. The Ridiculous is the worst of it all, that which makes good ol' Mr. Titan shake his head in perplexing amazement.
It's Finally Coming Out: Yes people, the long-awaited full-lengther from Nas and Damian Marley is coming out. Here's the preview vid:
After they were announced as the headliners of last year's Rock the Bells Tour, I figured we'd finally get the full-length collabo album from Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley; however, no such album really surfaced. I didn't attend the tour last year though I did in 2008 and had a blast so I'm not sure what material they were even playing. Maybe the album was actually in the can so they played the songs on their upcoming May 18th release, Distant Relatives, but they couldn't get around to releasing and promoting it with all of Nas' legal troubles over the past year.
I think this is a cool thing for Nas, because while he's definitely still a prevalent MC, it was about damn time for him to do something that truly stood out against the hardened, gangster-themed stuff we've expected from him ever since Illmatic. I mean, his untitled effort from 2008 was the fucking shit in my opinion, but this project with Marley is going to be really special.
Now, I loved the racial themes he brought to light on that album (originally called a word that starts with the letter N), especially the months-on-end battle over the controversial title. Here, he's bringing African issues and themes to the forefront with Damian Marley and the sound of the music will just be a breath of fresh air in Nas' sound and message. Nas is one of my favorite MCs and I've seen him live three times, so I'm truly excited for this shit.
Here's a single from the Distant Relatives LP called "As We Enter." I dig it and hope you do too!
Lady Gaga's Tour Rider: For those unfamiliar, a tour rider is essentially a list of demands a band/artist can demand from a venue they are playing at. The touring manager or suit will send the list to the venue ahead of time and when Sally Bigshot shows up to prepare for the evening's entertainment, all the food and toys are expected to be there. I've enjoyed reading some pretty outrageous rider demands over the years.
Van Halen, from what I read, started the whole rider craze, demanding in legal terms that the venue wouldn't get their rock show if there wasn't a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones removed by hand. I've also read that for a while there on the reunion tour a few years back, Dave required a dressing room away from Eddie's, which is kind of sad, but whatever, they're fuckin' Van Halen, ya' know?
I just read another fun one about Marilyn Manson, who has been known to have riders just for interviews. Supposedly, all his dressing room areas must be chilled with A/C and there must be an endless supply of Coca Cola, tons of ice, gummy bears, and other sweets. How cute?!
I've heard that the most "diva" of them all is Mariah Carey who requires Cristal champagne and refuses to ascend any stairs. J-Lo requests all her rooms be completely white. It goes on and on folks.
But then there's Lady Gaga, the anti-diva if there ever was one. Now, I can say that while I've grown tired of the accolades she is still receiving by a lot of people who act like it's cool and unique of them to be a fan of her music, her tour rider leaked out recently and I applaud her for remaining somewhat down to earth. Really, she's big enough to be able to demand pretty much whatever she wants, unlike Mariah Carey whose cleavage exposure has increased directly in proportion to her yesterday's news' factor.
Anyways, all Gaga requests for her performances are the following:
-A cup of tea and decaf coffee
-Chips and dip or bread and crackers
-Plate of cheese, cup of honey, and at times, a roasted chicken
That's something a venue intern could go out and get at the local grocery or Super Walmart with relative ease. If you think about it, the honey and hot drinks are commonly used for vocal cord care, so she's not just back there fuckin' partying and asking for endless fifths of alcohol. Kudos to Gaga for keeping it real!
You know, to go back to what I was saying before, it's not that I'm against Gaga as a person. She seems really creative and down to earth, especially compared to the lauded "divas" of the current day. She can rock out on a piano with the best of them too, which you can't say of most pop singers. It's just that a lot of my friends look at her as the be-all end-all of pop music, and I just don't really get it. She's not doing anything incredibly different or original. It's good, but it's just not flooring me. Heck, I haven't even watched that "Telephone" video that's blowing up online. Perhaps I should, considering I'm the author of a column like this? OK, let's watch it together:
Meh! Creative and all I suppose, but Madonna did the whorish popstar thing back in the 80s and 90s and for the record, the cone bra was way cooler than anything Gaga has crazily worn thus far - though I'm not one to hate on half-naked chicks, you know? After seeing this, I wouldn't put it past her to make just a full-on porno for a music video. People would probably call it brilliant with all the underlying themes buried beneath the images of thongs and the thumping electronic beats. Didn't I just see a South Park episode about this stuff?
NOFX's Fat Mike's Memorable SXSW Performance: This is some particularly crazy shit! Definitely one of the most disturbing things I've reported on so far this year!
So at the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX, "Fat" Mike Burkett of NOFX performed a solo acoustic set under his alter-ego "Cokie the Clown." NOFX released an EP last year called Cokie the Clown and there's a song on there called "My Orphan Year" which deals with the death of Burkett's parents. This Cokie the Clown persona seems to be a way for Fat Mike to deal with his issues and have a release according to media/fan speculation.
At the beginning of the set, Cokie came out with a jug full of tequila and did several shots. Then, he brought the tray of shots and gave them out to fans at the front of the crowd. After this, he goes into five acoustic songs. According to Blender, he also "disclosed details of his beloved mother's illness and death, of his estranged father's funeral, of a friend's suicide... even a rape that he was aware of" during the set.
So anyways, at this set at SXSW, here's what a fan in attendance reported [Credit: Blender.com/Pinpoint Music]: "As Mike finished his last song, he announced that he had a video that he had prepared especially for this evening. The mood in the building was completely fucked at this point. Upon instruction, his videographer hooked up the same camera he had been recording on the entire time to a 20-something inch TV that was positioned stage left. His camera man rewound through the entire footage to reveal a scene that occurred kitty-corner to the artist entrance of this venue. There, Mike was with his clearly visible naked dick filling a bottle of Patron Anejo, that started about 5/8 full to mask the taste, with piss. Without cutting away, the camera tracked with Mike, in full Cokie the Clown garb, as he corked the bottle, walked into the venue, and served it to the very crowd that now looked on in amazement. As the scene unfolded, some of the crowd cheered but most of us were too disturbed for emotion."
Normally, I try not to support the fuckheads at TMZ in any way, but this video is less about celebrity gossip and more about a live account of some crazy music news, so I'm making an exception. Here's the video of before and after Fat Mike's set. The video he showed the crowd was played after he performed the song "Drinking Pee" funnily enough:
Now there's a lot I'll support in the name of art and music performance, but this is just fucking distasteful. Really though, I'd never take a shot from somebody who wasn't a bartender or a friend of mine, but that's just me. Still, to give unknowing people shots with urine in them is just not cool. If you're that devastated over whatever's going on in your life, maybe the stage isn't the best place for you to air all that out and vent. Go to counseling, go get fucked up with your friends, go do something, but don't pull a sick stunt like this. It's just not what these people paid for.
Fat Mike is already facing some backlash from this. He's banned from the venue, but from what I've read so far, legally, he's not fucked. Apparently urine isn't classified as a "biohazard waste" compared to stuff like vomit, semen, or feces. I'm just mostly curious of what the unfortunate recipients of those tequila/urine shooters did after walking out of that place. You'd think they'd go looking for Fat Mike to kick his ass, but you have to believe he was be out of there as fast as possible once the set was finished.
Lil' Wayne's Prison Website: So prisons are for rehabilitating criminals and making sure they don't get their freedom again and waste it, right? So how does this really help? Here's this, posted by 411's own pride and joy, Ashish, three days ago:
Lil Wayne's label, Young Money Entertainment, has launched weezythanxyou.com, a site featuring Wayne's letters from prison. In the first letter, titled "Gone 'til November," Wayne says he is in good spirits and adds that he will start blogging for ESPN again soon, among other stuff.
I mean, I guess this website's cool if you're really that into Lil' Wayne. I appreciate his music for the fun that it is, but I don't understand how fans could really get into him and miss him like that considering how impersonal his music is compared to other MCs, such as Kid Cudi or Lupe Fiasco for example. There's plenty of MCs that aren't super personal or meaningful with their lyrics but are still super dope; however, that doesn't mean I'm going to have a deep personal connection with them and peep out their prison blog because I miss them so much.
Really though, do prisoners in the federal pen really get these kinds of perks? Isn't the point of federal prison to take away all the little conveniences and joys in life so that when you get out of the joint, you'll not take your freedom for granted and stop fucking around with illegal activities? How come Weezy gets to work with his record company to maintain a blog? Is he actually getting to use the Internet?
I would doubt it, but like, he says that he's going to start blogging for ESPN again soon. That, to me, means he's keeping up with sports on TV, so I wouldn't put the use of a computer completely out of the question in his situation, being a famous celebrity and all.
What the legal system has taught me today is this: I need to get famous with this column soon just in case I ever need some special treatment in my life. There's a lot of censored nudity coming up here shortly, so maybe that'll help! And we transition to
Badu Gets Naked: Wait?! You haven't seen that Erykah Badu music video that's causing such a fuss? Well here you go! Dude, you gotta' keep up with the times!
First off, I'm glad that the video gave props to Matt and Kim for inspiring the whole walking naked in public' thing with their "Lessons Learned" video from last year. I was originally going to blast her for kind of riding that train that I don't think had been since Alanis' Morissette's "Thank You" video from way back when. Badu actually reached out to Matt and Kim from what I read on MTV.com and they totally supported her and the video.
Well now is seems that Badu has been charged with disorderly conduct by the City of Dallas for shooting the video, which they didn't secure a permit for. Honestly, I think it's totally rockstar of her and her crew that they didn't get a permit and just shot it guerilla style.
The "Window Seat" video was also shot in the Dealey Plaza around the same area where President Kennedy was assassinated back in 1963, which makes the video all the more haunting, so the imagery is really cool and I don't think Badu just got naked for the sake of attention, though it's certainly a nice side-effect of the video for her new album.
The charges she's facing originated from a woman filing a complaint after seeing Badu during the shoot with her mother. Had she been arrested that day, she might have been facing some prison time according to Texas law. Since she wasn't nabbed that day, a $500 fine is all that she's going to get.
I mean, I get how people could've been offended, but we all know what the human form looks like, so what's the big deal? A fine I can understand, but a year long prison sentence (could have happened if she had gotten arrested that day) is pretty unreasonable in my opinion. I mean, there's naked people in movies, on the Internet, and in a lot of art in museums. I get that people have a choice to see all that and the people in Dallas that day for the video shoot got it thrown in their faces, but is it really going to fuck up anybody's day that badly? Is it going to blow a little kid's mind that he saw a naked lady OR is it a little harder on the parent who has the uncomfortable job of explaining that? Uncomfortable and awkward it may be, but that's the job you sign up for as a parent. Rock on Erykah!
Plus, like the crowd at SXSW for Cokie the Clown's set that I mentioned earlier in the column, these people in Dallas didn't quite get a choice for seeing Badu naked or not, but hey, they didn't have to drink urine, so they don't have as much to complain about, right? Man, tons of crazy shit be happening in Texas lately!!!
Here's some other naked music videos from years past:
How could they vote off this beautiful girl! WHY!!!???!!!???
American Idol Recap: Well, this was the first week I didn't predict the performer that was getting voted off. I thought that through the magic of the Idol gods, seventeen-year-old Katie Stevens would finally be gone and end her annoying Kermit-the-Frog-reminiscent performances, but alas, my beautiful Didi Benami was voted off.
Nothing else new to report on this week with Idol except that Andrew Garcia got himself back in the game, which is kind of cool because I started out liking him in the beginning of the competition:
Besides that, Tim Urban was still a douche and everyone that are good were still good well, Siobhan had an off night, but she'll bounce back. All in all, I didn't really feel most of the performances, but I think it was because R&B is a genre I'm still trying to find my way through, having grown up being a metalhead first and foremost. Casey James and Lee DeWyze were pretty rock n' roll though, so I'll leave you with their two performances if you're interested:
Hasta Luego: With that, I leave you! Gotta' get going to the WWE Raw taping tonight that I have tickets for and I have a drive ahead of me. As always, I'm interested in what you thought of the music news this week. Hit up that Comments section below and I'll see you here same time next week! With the Music 3R's, this is Aaron Titan! Cheers!
PS Check out my review of Slash's self-titled solo album! I think it's being posted either today or tomorrow!
Soundtrack to the 3R's this week was played by the following artists
Nine Inch Nails "The Fragile"
Wu-Tang Clan "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber, Pt. 2"
Eminem f/ Nate Dogg & 50 Cent "Never Enough"
Wolfmother "Fell Down a Hole"
Nas & Damian Marley "As We Enter"
T.I. f/ Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lil' Wayne "Swagga Like Us"
H.I.M. "Wicked Game"
Disturbed "Sacred Lie"
Fall Out Boy "The Take Over, The Break's Over"
Jane's Addiction "Been Caught Stealing"
The Nightwatchman "California's Dark"
Public Enemy "Caught, Can We Get a Witness?"
Rob Zombie "Scum Of The Earth"
Marilyn Manson "The Speed of Pain"
Suicidal Tendencies "Institutionalized"
Black Sabbath "Neon Knights"
Green Day "Hitchin' A Ride"
The White Stripes "The Union Forever"
Deftones "Lucky You"
Green Day "Haushinka"
Tool "Lipan Conjuring"
The Doors "Love Her Madly"
Gnarls Barkley "Run (I'm A Natural Disaster)"
Rage Against the Machine "Tire Me"
Static-X "Get to the Gone"
Brad Paisley "Mud on the Tires"
Red Hot Chili Peppers "If"
Blind Melon "No Rain"
Ween "Here There Fancypants"
The Roots "What Goes On, Pt. 7"
Nickelback "Follow You Home"
Soulfly "The Prophet"
Lamb of God "Pariah"
Down "Swan Song"
Fall Out Boy "Thriller"
Fall Out Boy "The Take Over, The Break's Over
Fall Out Boy "This Ain't A Scene, It's an Arms Race"
Fall Out Boy "I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)"
Fall Out Boy "Hum Hallelujah"
Fall Out Boy "Golden"
The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
Les Claypool "Red State Girl"
Fat Joe f/ Remy Martin "Lean Back"
Moby "Guitar Flute and String"
The Allman Brothers Band "Ain't Wastin' Time No More"
Primus "Shake Hands With Beef"
Linkin Park "Lying from You"
Tenacious D "Lee"
Wu-Tang Clan "Method Man"
Superjoint Ritual "The Knife Rises"
Guns N' Roses - "Yesterdays"
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains - "Thai Noodles"