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    Note: I've dropped the "Weekly" title since I start a new thread each time the previous one surpasses 2 pages to keep these updates fresh! FH

    NEWS - Ozzy Surprised At Fame From 'The Osbournes'
    03/22/2002



    (3/22/02, 5 p.m. ET) -- Ozzy Osbourne has long been a favorite of hard rock and heavy metal fans, but now the TV show The Osbournes is giving heavy music's first family a chance to show their lives to non-metal fans. The reality-based show focusing on family life is making Osbourne even more famous.

    Osbourne admitted that he is surprised by the show's success. "I know all about the music scene, but this television thing has gotten me totally baffled. I don't know how it works."

    He added, "I was walking down the street last Saturday and people that normally wouldn't stop me are freaking out with this. I had just come off tour in Canada, so I was kind of blind to the response. I got back on Friday and suddenly people are stopping me on the street and screaming at me. In fact an ambulance goes past me and the guy goes, 'Hey Ozzy, Hello, yeah'--on the intercom there. 'Good show, man you gotta keep it up...'-- I'm kind of flipping out, you know?"

    The Osbournes airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.

    -- Darren Davis, New York
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    NEWS - Hayseed Dixie Covers Aerosmith, The Cars & Spinal Tap on New Album 'Mountain Love'
    03/23/2002



    (3/23/02, 7 a.m. ET) -- Hayseed Dixie, the bluegrass band that broke into the mainstream covering AC/DC songs, has set its sights on love for its next album. A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love, due May 21 from Dualtone Records, sees Barley Scotch and the Younger brothers trying their hands at down-home versions of hits from the Cars, the J. Geils Band, Aerosmith, Bad Company, and Spinal Tap, among others.

    The album also includes two Hayseed Dixie originals--"The Perfect Woman" and "I'm Keeping Your Poop" (also known as "Poop In A Jar"), the latter of which is available as a free MP3 download at the band's website (hayseed-dixie.com).

    The band plans to tour extensively behind A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love--or, as they put it, "It is our sincere goal to play (and drink) in every honky tonk and alcohol establishment in the known universe."

    The tracklisting for A Hillbilly Tribute To Mountain Love includes: "My Best Friend's Girl" (the Cars), "Centerfold" (the J. Geils Band), "Walk This Way" (Aerosmith), "Feel Like Making Love" (Bad Company), "I Love Rock & Roll," (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts), "Cat Scratch Fever" (Ted Nugent), "Fat Bottom Girls" (Queen), "Big Bottom" (Spinal Tap), and the Barley Scotch originals "The Perfect Woman" and "I'm Keeping Your Poop" (also known as "Poop In A Jar").

    -- Bruce Simon, New York
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    NEWS - Peter Gabriel Tells His Band To Anticipate A Fall U.S. Tour
    03/22/2002



    (3/23/02, 6 p.m. ET) - Peter Gabriel will embark on a long-awaited concert tour before the end of this year. Longtime bassist Tony Levin tells LAUNCH that Gabriel told him to expect to be on the road for the holiday season. "Peter assures me, and this is very recent," he says, "that we will tour in November and December in the U.S., and one could assume that there'll be an album release before that. For me, this is a very big difference from having to say, 'Well, I just have no idea,' you know? We began recording tracks for this album in 1996. Ever since then, I've been tempted to say, 'Well, you know, it should be out soon. ... I'm finished with the tracks.'"

    The album Levin speaks of is Up, the long-awaited follow-up to 1992's Us, which reached Number Two on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. The bassist says that after talking to Gabriel, he's confident that both the tour and the album release will finally come to fruition. "I said, 'Does that mean the record'll be out?,'" says Levin. "And he said, 'Well, you can assume the record'll be out by then. You don't tour without a record out.'"

    Levin kicks off a tour to promote his latest solo album, Pieces Of The Sun, on Wednesday (March 27) at the North Star in Philadelphia.

    --Gary Graff, Detroit
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    Queen Rock You Like Never Before

    Roy Thomas Baker helps surround sound and "A Night at the Opera"


    When Roy Thomas Baker and Brian May talk about "BoRap," it's not some new hip-hop project from the legendary rock producer and the guitarist from Queen. It's shorthand for "Bohemian Rhapsody," the signature song of the artsy English rock band.
    And the reason they're talking about it -- and were recently together at Capitol Records in Hollywood -- was to remix that song and all of A Night at the Opera, originally released in 1975, for a new release in DTS 5.1 surround sound on the DTS Entertainment label.

    It's a fitting format for this music, as Baker reveals. "When we were recording A Night at the Opera, we had a type of surround sound in mind, so it's great to get to do it now in DTS 5.1. Quite a lot of this mix," he insists, "is how we heard it in our heads when we were doing it [twenty-seven years ago]."

    May and Baker were experimenting with then-state-of-the-art technology -- "dummy heads" from Sennheiser -- which were basically mannequin heads with mikes in their ears -- for a surround-sound effect. The limitation, Baker recalls, was that it only worked if you listened with headphones.

    But 5.1, a new standard in theater and home audio, has no such limitations, and the remix of "BoRap" and the other tunes brings new life to the classic tracks. Hearing it this way for the first time is a little like watching The Wizard of Oz, when the film turns from black and white to vivid color -- that's how dramatic the difference is from the stereo sound of the regular CD to the DTS 5.1 version.

    "It's a better emotional experience [than stereo]," Baker says of 5.1 audio. "You feel like you're part of the band or orchestra." He's convinced the format is here to stay. "If you like music, if you want to sit down and listen," Baker says, "this is the only way."

    "This will be the biggest ever for the format," says David DelGrosso, VP Marketing for DTS Entertainment. Indeed, this recording is perfect to show off the capabilities of home theater systems as Baker's new mix has hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual Freddy Mercurys surrounding the listener and chanting "Mama mia, mama mia!"

    Baker concurs. "It's a great test disk. It has great separation, and great harmonics with vocals, pianos and guitars. It's not just a guitar, but a guitar orchestra, not just vocals but a full choir."

    With a little help from engineer Elliot Scheiner, already a pro in the 5.1 format, Baker went back to the original twenty-four-track analog masters and transferred them to a hard drive. He mixed off the hard drive, and then converted the music back to analog because he still needed to get his signature saturation sound, which can't be replicated in digital. And Baker likes the DTS technology because it uses less compression than other 5.1 systems like Dolby.

    The new 5.1 mix of A Night at the Opera makes full use of all the speakers, with a big, fat drum sound, vocals flying all around (especially on "BoRap") and great presence in the lead guitar. "BoRap" is 5:54 of sonic bliss that completely envelopes the listener.

    Baker is so enthusiastic about the recently completed project that he's looking forward to his next 5.1 projects. While nothing is yet in the works and his personal choice would be to rework the debut album by the Cars. "I want to go back," he says, "and do all my previous recordings in 5.1."

    CHRIS RUBIN
    (March 22, 2002
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    ANTHRAX's SCOTT IAN Issues Public Apology To DANNY LILKER Over "Behind The Music" Special - Mar. 23, 2002

    ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has contacted BLABBERMOUTH.NET in order to publicly apologize to former ANTHRAX (and current S.O.D.) bassist Danny Lilker for any misrepresentation of facts or confusion brought on by the recently-aired VH1 Behind The Music documentary on the group. Here is Ian's statement in its entirety:

    “Hello blabbermouth.

    “I'm sending you this letter in the hopes that you will post it for all to see.

    “I would like to apologize to Danny Lilker for any of the confusion caused by the recent ANTHRAX Behind The Music [documentary].

    “The chronology of the show may lead you to believe that Danny was not a part of the band while we were making demos, shopping them to [Megaforce Records head] Jonny Z, getting signed to Megaforce, and ultimately writing and recording [ANTHRAX's debut album] Fistful Of Metal.

    “This is certainly not the case.

    “As I stated in my Alpha Mail column at anthrax.com, 'without Danny Lilker there is no ANTHRAX.'

    “Underneath that cold Black Metal exterior, Danny is one of the nicest guys in the world, and I'm sorry if this caused him even a moment's pain.

    “Thanks for your time, Scott Ian”

    “P.S.: The new DOWN record rules.”
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    LED ZEPPELIN Involved In Royalty Dispute With Atlantic Records - Mar. 23, 2002

    Over 30 years after Jerry Wexler signed them to the label, LED ZEPPELIN are suing Atlantic Records for copyright infringement, according to Rock's Back Pages. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and the heirs of late drummer John Bonham contend that the U.S. label has refused to pay increased royalty fees — currently almost four times the amount specified when the contract was signed — on 42 ZEPPELIN songs from the band's first five albums. If an agreement is reached, the settlement will likely run in the millions.
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    AVI ARAD TALKS SPIDER-MAN, MARVEL MOVIES
    Marvel Studios' Avi Arad said that director Sam Raimi is on board for the Spider-Man sequel and production could begin as soon as January.

    Arad was talking on Friday during a telephone conference discussing Marvel's earnings report. He said response to Spider-Man has been very positive.

    "We had test screenings around the world - Japan, Germany, France and so on. And their reaction has been overwhelming. It's really a very, very special movie," Arad said. "Everybody on the movie is signed for a sequel, and Sam Raimi, who directed movie one, is doing movie two, which we hope to start in production this coming January.

    "So obviously, this particular franchise is going to be predictable (in release) and profitable for us."

    Arad said that the strength of Marvel's characters is the diversity of characters and the changing lives of them.

    "We are now developing Spider-Man 2 and I can tell you the only reoccurring character that's exactly the way it was in the first movie is the costume of Spider-Man," he said. "Everything else will change. He grew, there will be new villains, he'll deal with new issues and so on and so forth.

    "From a product standpoint, when you look at the movie, there will be new opportunities; in fact, there will be more opportunities than in movie one. It takes the first movie, the origin movie, really to tell the story and explain the world. And therefore, it's tougher to deal with more than one villain."

    Arad cited the X-Men sequel as an example of franchise growth.

    "X-Men 2 will obviously have some of the same characters coming back, because that's the X-Men team," he said. "They, again, have grown up since the last movie. There will be new features, new costumes and, most important, new characters.

    "The diversity of the Marvel Universe - take Daredevil, for example. Movie one will deal with a certain group of villains. Movie two will bring in new ones. So it's really easy in our universe with an embarrassment of riches of years and years and years of publishing, to take our sequels make them uniquely new from sequel to sequel."

    Arad said that, for the first time, Marvel Studios has a "predictable" production schedule with franchise-ready properties.

    "We know that we are shooting for Hulk 1 for June 20, 2003, then we'll shoot for Hulk 2 for 2005," he said. "We know that we are shooting for Spider-Man 2 for two years after the first one. And each one of these movies prove that our franchises lend themselves to become sequels again and again."

    Other movies that Arad said are on the "money line" include Daredevil, which started production this week and will lead into an Elektra movie; Doctor Strange; Deathlok; Fantastic Four; and Sub-Mariner.

    "That's quite a large movie," Arad said of Sub-Mariner. "It's one of our more interesting universes to deal with, the undersea."
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    NEWS - Cranberries Boxed Set To Expand On First Four Albums
    03/24/2002



    (3/24/02, 10 a.m. ET) -- The career of Irish modern rock stars the Cranberries will be revisited in the upcoming collection, The Cranberries: Treasure Box-The Complete Sessions, 1991-1999. The massive anthology will include 74 songs, including 21 bonus tracks, covering the brunt of the group's recorded output spanning its first four studio releases prior to their 2001 album Wake Up And Smell The Coffee.

    It is tentatively set for release on May 14 from Island Records.

    The four Cranberries albums are digitally remastered and expanded for the box, meaning the group's best known songs--"Linger," "Zombie," "Dreams," "Ode To My Family"--will be featured alongside various outtakes, B-sides, and remixes.

    Extra songs from the group's 1993 debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? are: "Reason," "Them," "What You Were," "Liar," "Pretty (Pret A Porter Movie Remix)," and "How (Radical Mix)."

    Bonus tracks from 1994's No Need To Argue are: "Away," "I Don't Need It," "(They Long To Be) Close To You," "So Cold In Ireland," and "Zombie (Camel's Hump Mix)."

    Additional tracks from 1996's To The Faithful Departed are: "Cordell," "The Picture I View," "Ave Maria," "Go Your Own Way," and "God Be With You."

    Extra songs from 1999's Bury The Hatchet are: "Baby Blues," "Sweetest Thing," "Woman Without Pride," "Such A Shame," and "Paparazzi On Mopeds."

    Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan says the group's success through the '90s was due in part to its ability to ignore changing trends in rock and keep the faith in its own sound.

    She tells LAUNCH, "Never did give thought to what was out there and never will because my writing comes from inside my heart and I think my voice is quite unique. I have confidence in what God gave me in my gift, you know what I mean? You gotta be grateful and say, 'Look, this is great,' you know? Life's too short to worry about what might be and what's going on out there. I don't feel any pressure, you know, I don't get like, 'Ooh, I have to sound like that,' or 'Ooh, I have to wear that dress.'"

    -- Neal Weiss, Los Angeles

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    Stahl Confirmed as Connor in T3
    Monday, March 25, 2002 12:11 CST

    Variety has confirmed earlier reports that Nick Stahl ("In the Bedroom," "Bully Great movie, by the way ") will star as John Connor in "T3: Rise of the Machines," replacing Edward Furlong who starred in the role for "T2: Judgment Day".

    The trade says that the third installment of the "Terminator" franchise, picks up the story a decade after the sequel, when Connor reteams with his cyborg protector to battle the TX.

    The script was originated by Tedi Sarafian and rewritten by John Brancato and Michael Ferris. Lensing is scheduled to kick off April 15 in Los Angeles under the direction of Jonathan Mostow.
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    Oscar Winners

    Best Picture: A BEAUTIFUL MIND

    Best Director: Ron Howard, A BEAUTIFUL MIND

    Actor: Denzel Washington, TRAINING DAY

    Actress: Halle Barry, MONSTER’S BALL

    Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent, IRIS

    Supporting Actress: Jennifer Connelly, A BEAUTIFUL MIND

    Cinematography: LORD OF THE RINGS

    Visual Effects: LORD OF THE RINGS

    Editing: BLACK HAWK DOWN

    Documentary Feature: MURDER ON A SUNDAY

    Documentary Short Subject: THOTH

    Live-Action Short Film: THE ACCOUNTANT

    Animated Short: FOR THE BIRDS

    Foreign Film: NO MAN’S LAND

    Sound Editing: PEARL HARBOR

    Sound: BLACK HAWK DOWN

    Screenplay, Original: GOSFORD PARK

    Screenplay, Adapted: Akiva Goldsman, A BEAUTIFUL MIND

    Orginal Score: Howard Shore LORD OF THE RINGS

    Costume Design: MOULIN ROUGE

    Art Direction: MOULIN ROGUE

    Make-up: LORD OF THE RINGS

    Original song: Randy Newman, MONSTERS, INC.

    Animated Film: SHREK
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    David Fincher’s next… RAMA?
    SEVEN, PANIC ROOM director talks future

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dateline: Monday, March 25, 2002

    By: CHRISTOPHER ALLAN SMITH AND MICHAEL TUNISON
    By:

    With good buzz washing over his latest PANIC ROOM, director David Fincher is looking towards his next project. While he has several things on his plate, genre fans are probably most tantalized by the potential of him directing RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA. In an exclusive interview with CINESCAPE’s Mike Tunison, here’s what he told us.

    “We’re still working on the script. It’s probably one of the most pilfered books of the last 30 years,” Fincher said of the Arthur C. Clarke classic. “There are so many science fiction films that owe at least a narrative twist or a notion to RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA. I mean, STAR TREK – THE MOTION PICTURE, ALIEN, ARMAGEDDON, INDEPENDENCE DAY – all of these movies have plot devices and elements that are taken from it, so I don’t feel you can just do the book. I think you have to re-invent it.”

    He revealed his vision of the film would be almost completely digital. “It’s basically a motion-capture movie,” Fincher said. “The environment is completely synthetic. The actors are performing in real-time, but you’re editing the real-time component so you can introduce the weightlessness and get the performance that you want.”
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    IRON MAIDEN's STEVE HARRIS: There Are No Overdubs On "Rock In Rio" - Mar. 24, 2002

    IRON MAIDEN bassist/mainman Steve Harris has posted the following message via the group's official web site at www.ironmaiden.com in response to the accusations that, contrary to the various bandmembers' previous claims, the group's Rock In Rio live album contains studio overdubs:

    “Let's get one thing straight. [IRON MAIDEN frontman] Bruce [Dickinson] is NOT a liar.

    “There are NO overdubs on this live album. While it was being mixed in New York by [producer] Kevin Shirley and myself, Bruce was in London to my knowledge, or wherever he was, it's not an issue except to say that he couldn't overdub anything if he wasn't there!

    “What HAS happened is that I made an executive decision to cut and paste with a computer to put back in, his LIVE on the night vocals into parts where he was getting the audience to sing on some choruses on some lines on their own. The reason I did this is because in the cold light of day it sounds better with him back in there because sometimes the audience were either out of time or not quite loud enough. So I simply cut out parts of his vocal on the line before and pasted it into the next line, which was possible because it was a repetitive part.

    “I find it amazing that people would question this band's integrity and indeed go as far as accuse someone of being a liar. Supposed fans like that we don't want, as far as I'm concerned we're better off without people like that. If you don't like what I've done with the album, don't buy it. Simple!”

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    Looking forward to that Iron Maiden CD (comes out tomorrow, DLRC!

    Having walked away with four Grammy Awards this year, including Best Rock Album for their 2000 LP, All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2 are intent on moving ahead once again.

    Less than a month after its decisive Grammy victory, the group re-entered the studio to work on its next album, the band's manager Paul McGuinness said in a statement Wednesday.

    "U2 would like to clarify that, contrary to certain speculation in the press, they will be neither touring Europe this summer, nor splitting up," McGuinness said. "Instead, they are spending time in the studio working on new material for a possible release later this year."

    —Jon Wiederhorn
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    NEW YORK — He was only scheduled to do a single interview and was supposed to have the rest of the afternoon free, but the minute Pantera and Down vocalist Philip Anselmo stepped into the Elektra building, he found himself burdened with unexpected appointments.

    First, one of the label's lawyers hooked him into a closed-door meeting for an hour, then the chairman of the company, Sylvia Rhone, spontaneously decided she wanted to meet with him. A good 45 minutes later, Anselmo — clad in black jeans, a death metal T-shirt and a "cross-me-and-die" scowl, wearily entered a small metal-plated conference room for the interview.

    Meeting with business-suit-clad attorneys and top executives is enough to frazzle any musician, but for Anselmo, who lives to defy authority and usually prefers solitude to even the most casual social interaction, such appointments are torture.

    "There's a lot of false feelings there that send me running," he said, lighting up a smoke. "But sometimes you just gotta grit your teeth and face it. It's kind of like going to court. You don't want to go, but you gotta put on a suit and a tie and wake up at eight in the f---ing morning and have a judge tell you how to live. It sucks, but you gotta do it."

    For Anselmo to admit he's "got to do" anything for a capitalist corporation is a revelation, which proves just how important the new Down record, Down II, is to the misanthropic frontman.

    The band is a supergroup of sorts comprised of Anselmo, Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan, Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein and Eyehategod drummer Jimmy Bower, but while other such bands are pretty much side projects, Down is a big priority for everyone involved. Down II, the follow-up to 1995's NOLA. is moody, epic and roaring, but not in the manner suggested by the bandmembers' résumés. Unlike the group's debut, which was pretty much a ripping Black Sabbath tribute, the new one explores various aural territory including stoner metal, chaw-spittin' Southern rock, atmospheric classic rock and blistering metal.

    "It's very mature, compared to the first album," Anselmo said. "NOLA has always reminded me sound-wise and approach-wise as a really loud demo, and it was based on three three-song demos that we did just for fun. We were still growing and finding out what we were as a band, and we were into a lot of bands that were influenced by Black Sabbath, like St. Vitus, Trouble and Witchfinder General. With this LP we were all very clear on the approach we wanted to take, which was to do something heavy, but also experiment with a lot of other things we really like."

    One of those things is Led Zeppelin, which explains both the epic scope of the music and why the words "a bustle in your hedgerow ... " — a reference to "Stairway to Heaven" — appear on the bottom of the album art.

    "I don't know why, but the session just had this Led Zeppelin vibe the whole time. And there's not a moment on the record where you can say, 'Ah, that sounds like Led Zeppelin,' " Anselmo said. "It just felt like we were doing something classic. It was the attitude of when Zeppelin made Zeppelin IV or the feeling of what was on Black Sabbath's mind when they were doing Sabotage. That kind of magic that hung over us like a shroud."

    Down wrote and recorded Down II in 26 days last year at Anselmo's huge ranch in New Orleans, and they were on the clock the whole time. The gear they rented was only around for the allocated time, after which it was removed on huge trucks. So once the stopwatch was triggered, the bandmembers locked themselves in the compound and worked feverishly. Despite the intense pressure, the material flowed quickly and suffered not one iota in quality.

    "The riffs these guys were writing just kept coming and coming," Anselmo boasted. "It got to the point where I almost had to physically grab these motherf---ers and choke them to death, because they were writing so many bad-ass riffs. It was like, 'Stop! We've got 10 days left! Let's make this record!' And I tell you, we had enough riffs to make eight records."

    While his bandmates jammed away on the parts they had written, Anselmo sat upstairs in his house and feverishly penned lyrics. The band's penchant to party only added to the chaos.

    "No one had anything done in advance," guitarist Keenan said later during a call from his New York hotel. "So we're bringing tapes up to Phil as we finish them. And I'm downstairs with Kurt working on guitars. And Jimmy and Rex are trying to figure out how to keep the rhythms tight. In the meantime we're all eating truckers' speed, drinking beer and going apesh--. It was like a warzone."

    Adding to the turbulence were the personal demons Anselmo battled throughout the record's creation. The vocalist, who has a past history of drug abuse, wrote a number of songs about the dangers of heroin. On "The Man That Follows Hell," he howls over a wall of surging sludge metal, "I do one thing, I do it well it takes up most my time/ Advantage is beyond me, it's cursed beyond my eyes ... I gave my life to this and it's fooled me oh so well/ the name they've given me is the man who follows hell." On the murky, bluesy acoustic section of "Learn From This Mistake," he moans, "When you're up close it blinds you brilliantly/ Just one rush can change your life forever/ Just one push can end it altogether."

    "I'll say there's not one f---ing lie on this record," said Anselmo, not blinking an eye. "There's not one thing I over-exaggerated and there's not anything I under-exaggerated. In dealing with a band like Down, you gotta realize where we got the name and what the name means to us. There's a feeling that we have from Down, and it's called the Brotherhood of Eternal Sleep. See, Down was meant as not like, 'Yo, G, I'm down with you.' It ain't that at all. It means Down, like downtrodden. Like Down syndrome, downcast. And what the lyrics are about is all part of that."

    Down have scheduled an 18-date tour that begins May 1 in New York and ends May 25 in Dallas. If the dates go well, the band will schedule additional shows.

    Down tour dates, according to the band's publicist:
    5/1 - New York, NY @ Roseland
    5/2 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
    5/3 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
    5/5 - Cleveland, OH @ Odeon Concert Club
    5/6 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's
    5/7 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
    5/9 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Orbit Room
    5/10 - Detroit, MI @ Harpo's
    5/11 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
    5/13 - Minneapolis, MN @ Quest Club
    5/15 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
    5/17 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
    5/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
    5/19 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
    5/21 - Scottsdale, AZ @ Cajun House
    5/23 - San Antonio, TX @ Sunset Station
    5/24 - Houston, TX @ Verizon Wireless Theater
    5/25 - Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Live

    —Jon Wiederhorn
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

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    Dream Theater's Extended Run



    By Richard Harrington
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, March 22, 2002; Page WE06

    "THERE'S almost a prejudice," guitarist John Petrucci concedes.

    He's talking about Dream Theater, the contemporary prog-rock band that's constantly compared to bands whose heydays were in the '70s. Bands like Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Rush. Bands given to lofty themes, grandiose arrangements and epic songs featuring dollops of instrumental strutting. Case in point: Dream Theater's new "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence," a two-CD set whose six tracks include a seven-part, 42-minute, disc-long suite on mental illness and 14 minutes of "The Great Debate," possibly the first pop song about stem cell research.

    After 16 years, Petrucci says, "our staying power sometimes means getting lumped in with something that happened already a long time ago and isn't happening now. We're in a very weird position, for so many reasons.

    "One is that the style of music that we're playing is just not popular," he explains, noting that Dream Theater has a larger following in Europe and Japan than here at home. "We're a heavy metal-rock type of band, which never really goes out of style but changes a bit, so in one way we're normal.

    "But we have this style that's not in vogue, where we're playing 42-minute songs and having long solo breaks and improvs and cerebral lyrics, all these things that were more the style of Yes or Genesis or Pink Floyd. The combination that we do is probably an original thing, but it leaves us in this void where there's not really a lot of music like that out there."

    Dream Theater's sound is actually a meld of the progressive art-rock of the '70s and the equally progressive speed metal of '80s bands like Metallica and Megadeath. It's music full of odd, shifting time signatures and complex rhythmic patterns, and the instrumental virtuosity required is abundant. That's hardly surprising since three of the band's founding members -- Petrucci, bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy -- met as freshmen at Boston's Berklee College of Music, while the newest member, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, is a Juilliard graduate.

    "John and I grew up together and went to the same high school in Long Island," Petrucci says. When he and Myung headed to Berklee in 1985, "one of our goals was to play with a lot of different people and ultimately to make it in the music business. We stumbled across Mike when we heard him playing in a practice room -- when we looked through the window, he was wearing a Rush T-shirt and playing great. We got to talking to him and he happened to be from Long Island as well. We had all these common bands and interests and we really hit it off."

    So much so that regular curriculum courses occupied their days, and forming a band their nights.

    "We were out of our minds," Petrucci recalls. "You'd have to wait in line at 7 in the morning to reserve a room for that evening, so we'd take shifts and then practice every night. We realized after two semesters how demanding the school was and that we couldn't do both, so we decided to do the band 100 percent and drop out. At 18, our parents weren't too happy about that, but it worked out."

    Especially after the dropouts were all invited back to Berklee to teach master classes.

    After finding another band had already trademarked its original name, Majesty, the group became Dream Theater, after a movie house offering art films and midnight madness. Their 1989 debut album,"When Dream and Day Unite," barely made a ripple, but the tide started turning with the arrival of singer James LaBrie on 1992's "Images and Words." Things picked up even more when Rudess joined the band in 1998 after playing with Petrucci and Portnoy on a side project, Liquid Tension Experiment.

    Aside from LaBrie's soaring vocals, Dream Theater's most distinctive sounds are the alternately interwoven, doubled and harmonized passages featuring Petrucci's guitar and Rudess's keyboards. Conservatory training -- with Berklee jazz-focused, Juilliard classically oriented -- has proven useful, according to Petrucci. "First, you have to technically be able to play the part yourself, otherwise the whole thing is screwed up. Then you have to be in sync, not just with Jordan but the whole band."

    In performance, Petrucci and Rudess relish extended displays of instrumental prowess, something of a lost art in today's pop-driven short-form formats.

    "Maybe it's a Berklee thing, but I like to stretch out and improvise," Petrucci says. "That's what Zappa was doing and the Dead, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin -- that's the time when you can experiment and express yourself on the instrument. Is it self-indulgent? To a certain extent it is, but it's also communication with people watching you and there's a whole challenge to being able to do that live, on the spot. That's very appealing to me. I don't understand why that's not in more music."

    Petrucci got a chance to do even more of that last year with the G3 tour that teamed him with rock guitar gods Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Other band members have done solo projects -- LaBrie's recent "MullMuzzler 2" is his second album apart from the band, while Rudess followed up his solo debut, "Feeding the Wheel," with session work on David Bowie's upcoming album -- but G3 was Petrucci's first major step outside Dream Theater (though Portnoy tagged along on the drum kit).

    "I've always been a guy in a band, and this was receiving recognition as an individual, which was a great feeling and experience for me," Petrucci says. "Steve and Joe are both major influences on my playing, and it was great to be included in that circle."

    Particularly rewarding were the three-guitar jam finales featuring ZZ Top's "La Grange" and Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" and "Little Wing."

    "That was awesome!" Petrucci gushes. "At our last show, we had four guitars when Steve Morse came up -- I could have been done at that point."

    Early on, there was some thought about Dream Theater being a purely instrumental band, "but we felt you could only take something like that so far, and we had bigger aspirations," Petrucci says. "You can't just be a band full of chops and guys improvising -- you'd be kind of limited. There have to be songs. All of my favorite bands, the reason people like those bands is because of the songs."

    While Dream Theater has yet to fully embrace that hoary collection of songs known as rock opera, they clearly favor the long form. Few of their songs clock in at less than 10 minutes, which is why their recent "Live Scenes From New York" concert album was a triple CD. That one got some media attention because it was released on Sept. 11 with a cover depicting a bombed out New York skyline with the twin towers and the Statue of Liberty in flames. At the band's insistence, the set was immediately recalled and the artwork replaced.

    DREAM THEATER -- Appearing Sunday at the 9:30 club. • To hear a free Sound Bite from Dream Theater, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8121. (Prince William residents, call 703/690-4110.)
    ".....and Harry Potter and all of his wizard-friends went to Hell for practicing Witchcraft. The End." -Ned Flander's version of reading "Harry Potter" to Rod and Todd.

 

 

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