Week in Rock

Okay, get ready to play a guessing game. Can you guess what pseudo-grunge alterna-teen early ’90s band is reuniting this time? I’ll give you a hint: they’re worse than Soundgarden, but better than Pearl Jam. Do you give up? I would have, but I’m going to count on your interest in this topic and general strength of personality to keep you in the game. The answer is (drum roll please) Alice in Chains. Apparently, despite the lack of lead screecher Jerry Cantrell, the band has decided to reunite for a festival in faraway Austria, and perhaps more. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s web site message board revealed the group’s intentions. “I hate to keep on saying this, but as most of you have heard Alice will be performing at Nova Rock in Austria. This is true. Alice is back. Europe is a long way to go for just one show, so I feel that we are going to have a lot more to do. Because this is Europe, and a big festival, don’t count on any special Alice tickets but you never know what the future brings … I feel the rumblings of more stuff coming down the road.” Cantrell’s cryptic indications of reunion beyond the concert have set the wacky world of Alice in Chains fandom afire, or at least the Internet posting section of that wacky world. In any case, the cards are clearly showing a powerful “early ’90s revival” trend in the making, what with the Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr. and others all giving their old bands a new shot. People are eating it up, so I hope you hung on to your flannels. You’ll need them in a few months.

Do you like Devo? I thought so. It seems like everyone does, and with good reason too. Devo was a pretty good band, and their popularity just keeps increasing as time goes by. Why, last time I was at Powell’s (OK, it was like a year ago but whatever) there was a Mark Mothersbaugh mini-art exhibit up in that weird little pseudo-gallery that they have on the second floor. But all that exposure doesn’t mean I wasn’t surprised and a little bit disgusted by the news that none other than Disney was recasting the band with a bunch of little kids as Devo 2.0. Come on, guys. Don’t you know the most famous (but not best) Devo song is about having a wank? Do you think that’s going to translate well to the 10-12 year old demographic? Apparently they do, since the Devo 2.0 album will be hitting Targets everywhere on March 17, featuring kid-recorded versions of hits such as the ubiquitous “Whip It,” “That’s Good” and the great “Uncontrollable Urge” in addition to two new tunes written by the original, old band, “Cyclops” and “The Winner.” Also available is a DVD featuring interviews from Mark and Gerald Casale, although I can’t for the life of me figure out why they involved themselves in this royal fiasco. I listened to it. It sounds hooooooooorible. Although the kids are honestly not that bad at playing music, it’s still terrible compared to the real thing. The songs sound like they could be on the soundtrack for Lion King 8 or whatever, and they probably will. What is this, Kidz Bop or something? Do your children a favor and don’t buy them this. It doesn’t deserve to make any money. AT ALL. I can’t even believe I gave it this much press badmouthing it.

Ill-tempered rock act Mogwai laid into Brit Award winners James Blunt and Coldplay with hilarious results. Mogwai’s web site contained some acidic jibes at the groups and at the awards themselves, which is refreshing because James Blunt almost makes me retch at the mere mention of his name. and Coldplay? I don’t think I even need to say anything about their limpid quasi-hipster Radiohead-wannabe makeout music. But enough of my opinions. Mogwai’s guitarist Barry Burns pulled no punches in his online statement, although he did defend Brit winners Arctic Monkeys for forgoing the festival to play a legitimate gig. “The Brits. First off let us say a big well done to the Arctic Monkeys for not turning up to the Brit awards and instead playing a gig in Portsmouth,” Burns typed, obviously just getting warmed up for the trashings to come. “Why would you go?” Burns said of the awards. “I think you have to pay to go anyway, which is a joke – Coldplay’s Chris Martin hinted he may avoid the limelight. ‘People are fed up with us and so are we,’ he said. No shit fuckface,” Burns cracked, before saying of Blunt; “I have spewed blood down dirty toilets with more talent than him. Twat.” Ouch! That’s a gross and thoroughly English insult! Mogwai themselves are going to be appearing at some high-profile dates here in the States later this year, such as Coachella and SXSW, giving plenty of opportunity for public lambasting of other musical acts.