The Wonderful World of Rock

The Bush administration has taken a pretty downer stance on music piracy. President Bush signed a law on Wednesday stiffening the penalties for illegal sharing of music or films to up to three years in jail. The anti-file sharing fervor has ramped up steadily since last year, with the MPAA and RIAA both using what many have called strong arm tactics to keep people from accessing copyrighted material on file sharing networks. I’m sure no one forgot that 12-year-old that got sued a while back.

This new law came about due to the industry’s heightened concern about people who bring their camcorders to the movies and then later pirate the film, which supposedly accounts for 90 percent of pirated films available.

“There is evidence that criminal gangs use this kind of theft to support and expand their criminal enterprises.” MPAA president Dan Glickman warned ominously. So next time you go to the movies and see some fat bald middle aged guy taping away on his camcorder, steer clear of him. He’s probably part of the Mafia.

Liam Gallagher, always one for self-inflation, lashed out at all the hip new British bands, with hilarious results. Now that Oasis is on the big comeback trail, with everyone remembering that they were cool back in the mid ’90s and getting pumped for their new record, Gallagher had some choice words for his musical mates in an NME interview yesterday.

Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos was his first target. “He reminds me of fucking Right Said Fred.” Gallagher claimed. “You put on, ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Fucking Thing’ next to their records and I bet you any money it’s the same person. It’s the same fucking person! He’s just gone on the Atkins diet and grown his hair! Not my thing at all. I don’t like quirky, weird music. It’s not my cup of tea, all that nonsense, million miles an hour music that’s not going anywhere.”

But he wasn’t done and had some bones to pick with the perennially troubled Libertines singer Pete Doherty. “I’m not into smackheads. Smackheads need slaps… So what does the word Libertine mean? What does it mean? Freedom? He’s fucking in the corner doing smack with a helmet on his head! There’s nothing free about that. It’s nasty, innit? If the kids like them, fair enough, but they’re nowhere near like us. The music’s rubbish for start.”

Although he could have stopped there, Liam apparently had some more vitriol left to spew about Scissor Sisters, who had attacked Oasis for their low-key performance at last year’s Glastonbury festival. “If that’s what they call entertaining then let them ‘av it – bright colours and fucking weirdos on stilts? I’m more entertaining than that cunt. And I’ll rip his fucking vocal chords out any day because he’s fucking rubbish.” He went on to chide Kaiser Chiefs as a “bad Blur” before loudly praising Charlotte Church and plugging his new album. Refreshingly, though, he did pick on bands that have been considered “all that” lately, and all things considered, Oasis is probably better than all of them, so Liam has the right to burn them.

The new Queens of the Stone Age video is on the way, and head meathead Homme says that it reminds him of an Italian porno he saw. What this means, no one really knows, since it was probably something he said just to seem cool, but word on the video says that it’s pixelated, grainy, and being directed by Adam Levite, who has directed videos for Beck and Radiohead. Although it’s still unreleased, Homme had some words on the upcoming video on the Queens web site.

“From what I’ve been told, [the video] will involve many examples of failed attempts to control your lust, and how there is no device that can fulfill or replace the object of obsession.” Going on, he said: “Now, to be honest, I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like this Italian porno I saw once.”

On top of the video, he says that there’s a potential DVD in the works, containing hilarious bloopers and backstage antics. Although considering what band we’re talking about, I don’t know how hilarious it will be. It will probably just be 3 hours of Josh Homme flexing his neck muscles, and that bearded guy pouring beer on himself.

Even though barely able to clearly enunciate throughout one concert (see his recent Rose Garden performance for evidence) Bob Dylan is embarking on a new biographical feature film about himself. A whole passel of big-time actors are lined up to represent the aging Dylan, including Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julianne Moore, along with some more unsavory characters such as Adrien Brody, the meatheadish Colin Farrell, and the unspeakable Richard Gere. The film, to be directed by Todd Haynes, is slated to portray Bob at various points in his life. “Velvet Goldmine” was pretty good, so I’m hopeful that Haynes will be able to make a film with Richard Gere in it watchable.

Dinosaur Jr., already reuniting, touring and reissuing You’re Living All Over Me, are taking it up yet another notch with another reissue. June 6 will see the return of their legendary single “Freak Scene” on both 7″ and CD. The B-side of the single will be a re-mastered “Bulbs of Passion.” New artwork by Maura Jasper, the artist responsible for all of the re-issue covers, will be decorating the single. Maybe now, instead of all that Modest Mouse and Interpol and whatever passes for indie rock these days, the kids can get a taste of what real indie rock sounds like, since Dinosaur Jr. was pretty much the ultimate in that department. Do they have that Isaac what’s-his-name guitar at EMP? I didn’t think so.

You’ve probably heard about Billy Corgan’s new solo album. In fact, if you read the Vanguard, you’ve already read the track listing and thorough lambasting of it in a previous column. But now, everyone’s favorite ’90s rock star who isn’t Kurt Cobain is getting ready to bring his new tunes to you, or at least the nearest big city to you. Corgan is already enthusiastic about the tour and record, and has been posting profusely on his web site to keep fans updated on the details.

“Fans should expect a vibrant aural and visual experience that reflects the panoramic sound and push-and-pull tension of TheFutureEmbrace album,” typed Corgan recently.

Hey, man, I’m an art major. So therefore I know as a fact that doesn’t mean anything at all. But apparently, all of Billy’s friends agree with him, as another of his postings assured that, “All who have heard the album have really enjoyed it, which is a wonderful surprise :)”

Paralleling the creation of this new record, however, is an unfolding drama on his web site. This blog-type chronicle of his emotional and artistic journey, as well as his family history, will serve as a “confession” of sorts, Corgan said in an interview earlier this year. “People from the outside would look at me and say, ‘What’s his problem? Why’s he such a jerk?’ I feel if I tell the whole story, most people will understand why I did what I did. Why wait? I could die tomorrow.”

Corgan’s gossip laden personal history can be read on his MySpace account, an appropriate forum where it will be eaten up by the emos that infest the second-rate Friendster, itself a second rate LiveJournal, which is itself a half-assed substitute for talking to a real person. But even I have to admit I’m curious about Billy’s story, and it just might be worth risking a MySpace account to check it out.