The Wonderful World of Rock

I’m sorry to have to bore you again this week, but it seems that Josh Homme just can’t stay out of the news. This time, it seems as if ex-Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan has abruptly left the Queens of the Stone Age lineup mid-tour. Now, anytime a professional musician just drops out in the middle of a tour, it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows. Anticipating this, the band released a statement confirming Lanegan’s departure and chalked it up to exhaustion, which seems kind of strange considering that Mark Lanegan has been touring for years now. But who knows? Maybe it was exhaustion, and not old meathead Homme’s surely grating personality and penchant for pro-America ‘hick-hop.’

In any case, the band took special pains to deny any such rumors in their statement, even going so far as to threaten fans with physical violence if their wishes are not complied with. “Mark Lanegan is taking a brief sabbatical from the ongoing Queens tour due to exhaustion,” the statement simply read. “The band would like to wish a speedy recovery, so that he can return back to the touring Queens circus ASAP. Josh and Mark have already been in discussions to figure out when Mark will be able to return.”

Sounds normal enough, eh? Well, it gets better: “And finally the band stresses that all other rumors regarding this subject should be written down, burned and pushed into your eyes so that you are unable to find your water cooler/sewing circle. Thank you, the Duchess of Insider.”

Are those threats there at the end? Are they telling me to burn my own eyes out, or are they going to be doing it? I wish they could be a little clearer with their grammar there. If they’re going to make such a long-winded statement, then they could at least try and make it clear. Why, when you think about it, they’re starting to sound a lot like Billy Corgan.

More news on Billy Corgan’s newest opus, TheFutureEmbrace, which I heartily lambasted last week. Weighing in at a measly eleven tracks, the album is, Billy says, his new and positive take on the modern world. “I tried to sum up all my feelings about my life and the world around me in the most beautiful ways I could dream up,” Corgan said dreamily. “It is easy to be negative, and much harder to find that silver lining behind the clouds of modern society.”

After this, he closed his diary/poetry journal, gazed forlornly out the window at the rain-pregnant sky, and blinked several times, let out a wistful sigh, while a single tear rolled down his cheek to fall on the cold hard ground below.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the track titles give the album title a run for its money, with “TheCameraEye” and “Pretty Pretty STAR” being the main offenders. If his language and title choices are any indicator, I wouldn’t be surprised if, these days, Billy’s taken to wearing berets and striped sweaters, and shaved his horrendous beard into a trim goatee.

Jello Biafra has lashed out against his former bandmates and Fox, for using music by his former band, the Dead Kennedys, in American Idol of all things. Although control of the band’s catalog was crudely wrested from its main singer and songwriter by the villainous East Bay Ray and cronies D.H. Peligro and Klaus Floride, who took Biafra to court for back royalties and catalog rights some years ago, the vocal Biafra still expressed his disdain. The band’s cover of “Viva Las Vegas,” the offending song in question, was noticed by vigilant fans, who taped the program and immediately alerted Biafra, whose refusal to license the music for use in commercials was one of the main factors in the lawsuit.

Locally, The Pulitzer Prize-winning Willamette Week released its top-10 list of new bands this week, celebrating Portland’s best up-and-coming new artists. The Pulitzer Prize winning weekly polled 59 local music impresarios on their favorite new artists and returned with an impressive array of PDX talent. I was happy to see such ass kickers as Wet Confetti, the Kingdom and (of course) Talkdemionic, topping the list. But I must say I was shocked to realize there was nothing but indie rock bands in Portland. Libretto anyone? Quivah? E*rock? Sleepyhead? Oh well, the Pulitzer Prize means not having to say you’re sorry.

While not rock-related, I feel it’s still important for you to know that Richard Gere is doing what decades of professional politicians could not: bring peace to the Middle East. He insisted that Palestinians and Israelis must take advantage of what he called a “special moment” to make peace.

“There is a great instinct and need on both sides of this conflict to find a peaceful solution that is suitable, that is genuine, that is real, and it can be found and this is a moment,” the 55-year-old actor said.

According to the Associated Press, Gere has met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israel’s two vice-premiers, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert.

All leaders insist that while they were “blown away by ‘Chicago'” they cannot understand why they are stuck speaking with a b-list actor about issues that should really be discussed with a b-list president.

Mediocre rap star and brother to Master P, C-Murder, is gone now. According to absurdly named publicist Giovanni Melchiorre, as of now the hackneyed MC will go as simply C Miller.

“People hear the name C-Murder and they don’t realize that the name simply means that I have seen many murders in my native Calliope projects neighborhood,” he said in a statement.

Despite his change in moniker however, officials say he will still be required to serve the life sentence he received for the lethal shooting of 16-year-old Steve Thomas in 2003.

“If Prince couldn’t get out of a contract with Sony by changing his name to some whack-ass symbol, why the hell would C Miller think he could get off second-degree?” asked some dude standing by me at the bus mall.

In a recent PETA interview, the Fiery Furnaces expressed their support for the crusade against bunny killing. The exchange between Matthew Friedberger (the male half of this indie-anemic sibling duo) and whichever loyal PETA worker was brave enough to talk to the musician about his innermost feelings for furry creatures could be described as nothing less than spicy. PETA asked Friedberger such piercing questions as, “How did you find out about adopting greyhounds?” Not to be overwhelmed by the granola-muncher’s intense journalistic savvy, Friedberger shot back with typical rocker-esque snide remarks.

He declared his vegetarianism, stating, “I just couldn’t deal with the thought of eating another animal when I didn’t have to.” He also described his favorite foxhound as “very much his own man, so to speak. He definitely had his own interests, which mainly involved going out in the fields and chasing things.”

Friedberger’s love for canines is further demonstrated in the Furnaces song, “My Dog Was Lost But Now He’s Found,” in which he sings, “I kicked my dog … I guess that’s why he walked out my door. I really wish I could see him some more.”

Everybody knows that the nerd-rock crowds at Furnaces shows are notorious for testing chemical products on baby kitties. They regularly come to concerts clad head-to-toe in the fur of endangered Pandas, and enjoy killing, roasting and eating the helpless mice who live in the walls of the concert venues. For these reasons, apparently, the spiffy siblings have decided to dub their spring tour (which culminates at the Coachella Valley Music Festival) “cruelty-free.” Those wacky Friedbergers will no doubt delight in turning away loyal – but murderous – fans at the door.