The Wonderful World of Rock

After wallowing in relative obscurity since releasing the sprawling, two-disc The Fragile, Trent Reznor has burst back into the collective consciousness in a huge way. Where previously his music had largely been the domain of weirdoes and the perennially unpopular, the new release is now rambling across the radio, Myspace, and my painting class. It has enough ’80s moog-y synth flourishes and pseudo-political jabs to actually seem viable, a giant leap from its predecessors’ nipple-clamp angst.

While these seeming bows to the current fashions sadden me as an old-guard fan who counted on NIN to never be hip, everyone else is eating it up. And it looks like good old Trent is going to be raking in the cash like never before. Especially since he’s taking his longtime manager John Malm to court for allegedly fleecing him out of loads of money over the years.

Reznor claims that, because he left the business end of his enterprise to Malm, the latter was able to manipulate him into signing shoddy contracts and documents that he didn’t read or understand. In 2003, however, a meeting with a lawyer and Malm revealed that Reznor had “cause for alarm” and had as little as $400,000 in cash despite earning millions with his band.

“John was the business guy, and I was the guy working for nothing in the studio,” Reznor said in court on May 16. Malm refutes this claim, saying that the only place he funneled money was into Reznor’s pocket. Malm claims to have worked for years on no salary and kept no secrets from his friend and business partner. When the lawsuit process started last year he stated that he had been “stabbed in the back with a nine inch nail.”

Summer is almost here, and although I virulently hate it, I’m sure all of you are quite excited for the end of class and the commencement of good weather. Me, I hate the sun and will be in school the whole time, so one of the only things that has me pumped about the seasonal change is the upcoming Devo tour. Mark Mothersbaugh and company, after playing sporadic concerts and a handful of festivals for the last few years, have finally scheduled a proper tour, with 16 dates in the U.S. so far. This includes the “Lost ’80s Live” show, a Colorado festival that will feature a handful of bands considerably worse than Devo. For example, Flock of Seagulls. I hope everyone remembers that they sucked then and surely still suck now. They’re like fucking Air Supply.

Bizarre retro trendiness aside, Devo’s tour will climax at Seattle’s 35th annual Bumbershoot at the end of the summer, so start saving for the trip now. That city is expensive.

Famed punk club and historical landmark CBGB is gearing up for a final stretch of shows in an attempt to ward off its impending closure. Due to rising rent costs and the rapidly increasing highfalutin-ness of its neighborhood, club owner Hilly Kristal is attempting to assemble a roster of high-profile bands to save the sort-of birthplace of the Ramones and Television, among others.

While certainly optimistic, Kristal has yet to book a single band for his 30-day festival, nor has he come up with any solid plans to make his concert gel. At a press conference on May 16th, he read off a list of groups he would like to tap for the performance but was short on the details of the plan and how it would save his club.

While it may be nice to talk about saving the decrepit old venue, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that it had a good run and close it down. It’s not like the Ramones still need to play there, or even exist anymore, and the thing is going to be in some fancy-ass neighborhood where middle aged people from California come with their fanny packs to feel like they’re a part of some real history. I think that’s worse than just closing down after a good 30 or so years of being the legendary birthplace of punk music. I mean, what do people want? I bet that if it stays open, in a few years it’s going to turn into some kind of Hard Rock Caf� or something – and that’s a real shame.