”PATIENCE” AND ”FAITH”Â… George Michael‘s first tour in 15 years, scheduled for the fall across Europe, has been met with such high demand that his handlers are optimistic an American edition will follow. ”I can’t imagine it won’t come to America,” his tour manager told Billboard. The 25 Live Tour celebrates Michael’s 25 years in the business and will feature a career retrospective, including hits from Wham! and Michael’s solo career. Why was he M.I.A. for 15 years? To see if his fans still have faith? More because of a series of personal and professional setbacks. Little things like, you know, suing his label Sony, getting caught cruising for sex in a public bathroom and getting grumpy and bitter about decreased sales for his recent work. ”He just became a bit reclusive, not really wanting to go out and engage the public,” his tour manager reported to Billboard. But now, you might say he wants your sex again….
FROM BROKEBACK TO THE CARIBBEAN… Tired of hearing Gustavo Santaolalla‘s ”The Wings (Theme from Brokeback Mountain)” at a club near you? Well, the success of remixes of that instrumental track, including the most popular Manny Lehman, Tony Moran and Warren G Collaboration Remix, has encouraged Disney to release remixes for its upcoming blockbuster. ”He’s a Pirate” is the theme to — what else? — Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, hitting theaters next week. Among those on tap to remix composer Klaus Badelt‘s theme: tribal-pop upstarts Friscia & Lamboy and the straight club scene’s most popular DJ, trance-master Tiesto, whose bombastic style and sound seems perfectly suited to the chest-thumping task….
ROCKING TO ELECTRONICA… Two adventurous rockers will release new material in the coming months that could stretch the boundaries of what has become known as dance-rock. Thom Yorke, the frontman of adventurous electronic rock band Radiohead, will release his solo debut next month. Not to worry: Radiohead is very much still functioning, Yorke says. The band is spending the summer touring and previewing tracks in consideration for its next studio album. Yorke just wanted to try out some material on his own. ”Inevitably it is more beats and electronics” than Radiohead’s output, Yorke was quoted as saying about the album, The Eraser, due July 11. Yorke will perform from his new solo work July 15 on The Henry Rollins Show, a late-night talk show hosted by the uber-gay-friendly punk-rock legend on the premium-cable IFC Network.
Meanwhile, former Jane’s Addiction/Porno for Pyros frontman Perry Farrell is prepping the debut album from his new group Satellite Party, which features ex-Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and guest appearances from two Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sound too hard-rock for your taste? Well, also guesting on the set is Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie — hopefully there’ll be no talk of her humps for a change — and, most notably, Peter Hook, who as the bassist in New Order is one of dance music’s most influential musicians. Also on tap for vocal duties: Farrell’s wife, Etty Farrell. Mr. Farrell told Billboard: ”We wanted to add a nice, healthy dose of female energy into it, especially female voice, because it’s wonderful for chorus. We’re chock full of great, grand songs… It is lush and beautiful and sexy and loaded with energy”….
FROM WEIRD TO ”WONDERFUL”… Last November Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox released a new single as the Eurythmics, ”I’ve Got A Life,” and included it on a new greatest-hits compilation. After years of silence, the two even hinted that they might write and release more synth-happy pop songs together. But for now, only David Guetta‘s chart-topping remix of the song is still heard. Nothing else new. And all signs point to renewed separate ways.
Stewart’s new rock band with hit songwriter Kara DioGuardi (Kylie Minogue, Kelly Clarkson), called Platinum Weird, will release its self-titled debut August 22. Meanwhile, Stewart is taking a creative approach to promoting the band, enlisting the help of pop stars to either create from scratch the band’s history, or to share a previously unknown truth. This Wednesday, July 5, VH1 will air a 40-minute film that sounds trippy in more ways than one. According to Pitchfork Media, in the film Stewart suggests he originally formed a band by the name of Platinum Weird more than 30 years ago with an unknown singer named Erin Grace. The partnership with Grace, according to the story, gained early buzz in the industry, but fizzled out after she mysteriously disappeared before the band’s debut album was produced. Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr and Elton John are among those sharing recollections about Grace and the ”original” band’s music — as do, improbably, Christina Aguilera and Lindsay Lohan. If nothing else Stewart is putting the literal truth to the band’s name.
Meanwhile, Billboard reports that Annie Lennox may not take even half as long to produce a new solo set as she did last time. Three years after her brilliant album Bare, Lennox is already beginning work on a follow-up. By contrast we had to wait eight years for Bare after 1995’s Medusa. It might still be another year or more, though. Billboard reports that no delivery date is set, and that Lennox is too early in the process to reveal who she’s working with, much less identify a theme to the album. Right now her only goal is putting together a collection ”with 12 strong, powerful, really emotive songs that people can connect to.” Sounds like typical Lennox….