The Week In Rock

So you think almost every movie that’s come out in the past year has pretty much been unredeemable? Good, me too. I’m glad we’re on the same page. And since we have so much in common, I’m going to share the latest on the new Andy Warhol/Factory/Velvet Underground movie. Called “Factory Girl,” the film documents the rise of Edie Sedgwick as she becomes Andy’s “it girl,” and eventually succumbs to barbiturates. That’s the good news for movies. Now, since Andy Warhol is a subject whom I’m sure is near and dear to your heart, it is my journalistic duty to now relay to you the bad, bad news. Firstly, you will be forced to put up with a cast including Hayden Christiansen, Jimmy Fallon and Guy Pierce.

Who did the casting, a monkey? But it gets worse, gentle reader. The Velvet Underground, source of inspiration for countless musicians and music lovers, the people who talked about riding the H-train while everyone else was going on with their whole “peace and love” nonsense, will be played by none other than Weezer. Yes, that’s right.

Guitarist Brian Bell will provide a pale shadow of Lou Reed, while drummer Patrick Wilson will mangle the ice-cool John Cale. The duo has already recorded a version of “Heroin” to be used in the film. "[Moe] Tucker did have an amazing feel," Bell said of the session on Weezer’s official web site, "but she was no Pat, and Pat pulled out an ‘Only In Dreams’ type crescendo that I think makes that aspect of the song better." Yeah. Sure it does. And most of your records stink worse than Sally Can’t Dance. What ingrates.

"Maybe we might help turn a new generation on to this amazing art rock band and change the perspectives of a few unknowing listeners,” Bell also stated. “If your music has steered too far from the aesthetic of the Velvet Underground you have to ask yourself, ‘What the hell am I trying to do?’"

While Weezer may be all smiles about their performances and the film indeed, even going so far as to guarantee that it is “sweet” and will “not suck,” Lou Reed seems to feel otherwise. "I read that script," Lou said to the New York Daily News. "It’s one of the most disgusting, foul things I’ve seen – by any illiterate retard – in a long time. There’s no limit to how low some people will go to write something to make money." Ouch! Point for Lou! In any case, the film just began filming in December, so you might have to wait a while to see Weezer beat the Velvet Underground at their own game.

What could be worse than seeing Andy Warhol and company mangled on the big screen? A new Guns ‘n’ Roses album, that’s what. Chinese Democracy, the G ‘n’ R album that’s been in the works since 1991, is supposedly nearing completion, according to frontman and ridiculously large jersey wearer Axl Rose. "People will hear music this year," he said to Rolling Stone. "I’m trying to do something different. Some of the arrangements are kind of like Queen. Some people are going to say, ‘It doesn’t sound like Axl Rose, it doesn’t sound like Guns ‘n’ Roses.’ But you’ll like at least a few songs on there." Well, that’s a relief. At least it won’t sound like Guns ‘n’ Roses. The prospect of a reunion of the band’s original members around the new record is unlikely, however, as Axl revealed that he hasn’t spoken to guitarist Slash in around 10 years. “I love the guy, I always wanted everyone to know how great he was, but I was just talking to Izzy [Stradlin ?” the guitarist who isn’t Slash] the other day, though." Most likely, the current lineup of the group will be the one we’re stuck with for the tour that will undoubtedly follow the record. Get your bandannas ready.

What do you get when you cross Tom Waits, a Spanish Volkswagen/Audi commercial and a Waits sound-a-like singing a jingle for the autos? A big-deal lawsuit, that’s what. Waits has officially nailed the carmakers for ripping off his 1987 song “Innocent When You Dream.” Apparently, the Audi commercial featured a tune that sounded a little too close for comfort, after having been denied use of the actual song by Waits. The gravelly-voiced tunesmith netted $43,000 for copyright infringement and $36,000 for the “violation of his rights as an artist.” Spanish courts ruled in his favor both in the initial case in March 2004 and the appeals case last November. “In a way, you’re building a road that other people will drive on,” Waits told The New York Times. "I have a moral right to my voice. It’s like property ?” there’s a fence around it, in a way." Not content with mere victory, Waits later had some barbed comments for the trespassers on his label’s web site, where he said: "Now they understand the words to the song better. It wasn’t ‘Innocent When You Scheme’ it was ‘Innocent When You Dream’." Zing! Point for Tom!