Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Music News

Creed Hammering Out Reunion Details

Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

As first tipped here last month, Creed is hammering out details for a lucrative 2009 reunion tour, sources tell Billboard. The Scott Stapp-led group, which was one of the top sellers of the past decade, has not performed since a rancorous split in June 2004.

Stapp promptly embarked on a solo career, while guitarist Mark Tremonti, drummer Scott Phillips and original bassist Brian Marshall formed Alter Bridge with vocalist Myles Kennedy and released two albums. The 2004 Wind-Up debut, "One Day Remains," sold 496,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan; a 2006 follow-up for Universal, "Blackbird," has moved 227,000.

However, Kennedy is rumored to be the top contender to replace Robert Plant for a tour with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. And following a recent USO tour performing for American servicemen oversees, Stapp is said to be in prime physical and mental condition.

As such, there are "significant dollars" on the table for a Creed trek, according to sources close to the situation, who say an official announcement could be imminent. A spokesperson for Wind-Up tells Billboard, "There have been some talks, but it would be premature to comment on them at this time."

Creed has sold 26.1 million albums in the United States since 1997, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The group was also a significant touring presence, having grossed more than $70.3 million from 220 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore between Nov. 1997 and Dec. 2002.



Kanye, Guns N' Roses Post Slow Debut-Week Sales

Ed Christman, N.Y.

While mainstream media is touting that the Black Friday weekend started the holiday selling season with a bang, music merchandisers certainly didn't have that experience.

Music sales were down anywhere from 10% to 30% and hit albums released for Black Friday didn't perform up to expectations, according to merchants contacted by Billboard. Sources say Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak" will sell in the range of 425,000-450,000 units, significantly down from 700,000-975,000 units previously projected.

Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" is expected to clock in at 250,000-260,000, which is also down from expectations that it would sell anywhere from 300,000-784,000 units.

While some press reports show across-the-board retail weekend sales up 7%, music merchandisers point out that in order to accurately measure the holiday, it should be measured the week containing Black Friday this year, which was the last week in November, versus last year when the day fell in the third week of the month.

At music specialty stores Newbury Comics, sales were down 21% on a comparable store basis for the last two weeks of November, while music sales were down 28%, reports the Brighton, Mass.-based chain's CEO, Mike Dreese.

At big boxes like Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble, label executives report that hit sales were off significantly for the Black Friday weekend, anywhere from 30% to 40%.

On the other hand, as expected, online shopping was stronger than last year, says an executive with a wholesaler that does CD and DVD fulfillment for online stores. But he declined to provide details, other than to say that Friday was better than Thursday, for the first time.

"I hear traffic was high, but overall purchasing wasn't because shoppers were cherry-picking the deals," says one senior distribution executive.



My Chemical Romance Side Project Sets Release Date

Although its debut has the same title as a very, very well known Elliott Smith album, Leathermouth has a lot more in common with My Chemical Romance than the indie singer/songwriter.

Led by My Chem guitarist Frank Iero, Leathermouth, which signed to Epitaph in October, will drop its debut, XO from the punk label Jan. 27. We're not sure if the New Jersey hardcore/punk act plans on calling its sophomore effort Figure 8 or, in an attempt to make things really confusing, starts stealing record titles from Leatherface instead.

XO's track listing is:

5th Period Massacre
Catch Me If You Can
This Song Is About Being Attacked By Monsters
I Am Going To Kill The President Of The United States Of America
Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me
Sunsets Are For Muggings
My Lovenote Has Gone Flat
Your Friends Are Full Of Shit
Bodysnatchers 4 Ever



Neko Case Reveals Cover, Song Titles

You know an album has a lot of potential if on its cover it features a winning trifecta of Neko Case, a muscle car and a sword, right?

Case nailed down a release date for her Middle Cyclone -- March 3 from Anti -- while revealing a cover that looks like she's shooting for a place in '70s hard-rock history rather than modern-day alt-country. She also unveiled a list of collaborators who lent a hand on the record, including Calexico, M.Ward and the Lilys. Middle Cyclone follows up 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (review) (Anti).

Middle Cyclone's track listing is:

This Tornado Loves You
The Next Time You Say Forever
People Got A Lotta Nerve
Polar Nettles
Vengeance Is Sleeping
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth
Middle Cyclone
Magpie To The Morning
I'm An Animal
Prison Girls
Don't Forget Me
The Pharaohs
Red Tide
Marais La Nuit



Kanye Edges GNR, Ludacris For No. 1 Debut

Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Kanye West earns his third straight No. 1 on The Billboard 200 as "808s & Heartbreak" bows in the top slot. The Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam set moved 450,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, the artist's lowest debut sales frame since his first album, "The College Dropout," bowed with 441,000 in 2004.

His last release, "Graduation," began with 957,000 at No. 1 last year, while sophomore set "Late Registration" checked in with 860,000 at No. 1 in 2005.

With the help of Thanksgiving sale prices and a performance from the singer at the Nov. 23 American Music Awards, sales for Taylor Swift's Big Machine album "Fearless" increase 23% to 267,000, pushing the set up 4-2.

At No. 3 with 261,000 is Guns N' Roses' Best Buy exclusive "Chinese Democracy" (Black Frog/Geffen), the first studio album of original material from the group since 1991. GNR's last studio efforts, "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II," debuted at Nos. 2 and 1 respectively, with 685,000 and 770,000 after being released on the same day in 1991.

Since then, the act has charted with a covers set (1993's "The Spaghetti Incident?" with a 190,000 debut), a live effort (1999's "Live Era '87 - '93;" 60,000) and the 2004 "Greatest Hits" package (169,000).

Beyonce's "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" (Music World/Columbia) declines by 47% in its second week, dropping 1-4 with 257,000. Debuting right behind at No. 5 is Ludacris' "Theater of the Mind" (DTP/Def Jam) with 213,000. It's the first time one of the rapper's albums debuted anywhere but No. 1 since 2001's "Word of Mouf" bowed and peaked at No. 3.

The Killers' third album, "Day & Age" (Island) enters at No. 6 with 193,000. Its 2006 predecessor, "Sam's Town," bowed at No. 2 with 315,000.

After debuting at No. 2 last week, Nickelback's "Dark Horse" (Roadrunner) slips to No. 7 on a 46% decline to 178,000. Chop Shop/Atlantic's soundtrack to the runaway hit film "Twilight" falls 6-8 with 162,000 (+29%) while the multi-label "Now 29" hits compilation earns a 26% sales increase to 145,000, slipping 7-9. David Cook's self-titled 19 Recordings/RCA debut rounds out the top tier, descending 3-10 with 112,000 (-60%).

Other debuts this week include Barry Manilow's "Greatest Songs of the Eighties" (Arista) at No. 14 with 78,000, the Coldplay EP "Prospekt's March" (Capitol) at No. 15 with 77,000, Trace Adkins' "X: Ten" (Capitol Nashville) at No. 32 with 37,000, Jeremy Camp's "Speaking Louder Than Words" (Tooth & Nail) at No. 38 with 32,000 and Linkin Park's "Road to Revolution" (Warner Bros.) at No. 41 with 31,000.

At 12.15 million units, sales this week are up 29% compared to last week's sum, but down 0.7% compared to the same sales week last year.


Classic Rock Videos

The Doors Hello, I Love You

This Date In Music History-December 3


Duane Roland, guitar, Molly Hatchet (1952)

Montell Jordan, singer (1968)

Birthday wishes to the “Prince of Darkness”- Ozzy Osbourne

John Cale, Velvet Underground (1940)

Crooner Andy Williams (1928)

They Are Missed:

Guitarist Grady Martin died in 2001 (age 72). Martin worked with Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly and played the riff on Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman'.

Hoyt Curtin, composer, died of heart failure in 2000. He wrote the themes to 'The Flintstones', 'Yogi Bear', 'The Jetsons' and other cartoon themes.


In 1965, while performing "The Last Time" in Sacramento, Calif., Keith Richards' guitar accidentally touched his microphone. The resulting electric shock knocked him unconscious. He recovered after seven minutes and the show went on.

Elvis Presley's first release on RCA Victor Records was announced in 1955. The first two sides were actually purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records: "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget". Elvis was described by his new record company as 'The most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years.'

The Beatles met future manager Brian Epstein for the first time in 1961, at his Liverpool record store.

In 1969, John Lennon was asked to play the title role in the stage musical "Jesus Christ, Superstar" (the offer was withdrawn the next day).

In 1971, the Montreaux Casino burned to the ground during a show by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The incident was immortalized by Deep Purple's 1973 hit, "Smoke on the Water." (some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground...")

Elvis Presley's "comeback" TV special aired on NBC in 1968.

In 1929, Britain's Gramophone Company Ltd. bought a house at 3 Abbey Road in London. The residence was later converted into the famous Abbey Road studios, where groups like the Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded.

In 1979, a concert by The Who at The Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, turned to disaster when 11 members of the audience were trampled to death after a stampede to claim unreserved seats.

A lawsuit was filed against Judas Priest and CBS Records in 1986, alleging that two fans shot themselves after listening to the band's music for six hours.

An inflatable pig was spotted floating over London's Battersea Power Station in 1976. It's only the prop being used for the album cover to Pink Floyd's Animals. However, the balloon breaks free of its moorings and drifts away, prompting the Civil Aviation Authority to issue a warning to pilots flying over London. I guess pigs do fly.

According to the Royal Albert Hall, it had received more than 3.5 million applications for a total of 11,212 tickets to the forthcoming Abba shows at the London venue in February of 1976.

In 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America gave Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers a Diamond Award, marking the sale of 10 million copies of the band's "Greatest Hits" album in the United States.

Boyz II Men knocked themselves off the No.1 position on the US singles chart in 1994, when 'On Bended Knee' started a six week run a No.1. The groups 'I'll Make Love To You' had been at No.1 for a record breaking 14 weeks.

The Rolling Stones recorded 'Brown Sugar' at Muscle Shoals studios in 1969. The single went on to be a UK & US No 1.

An attempt was made on Bob Marley's life in 1976, when seven gunmen burst into his Kingston home injuring Marley his wife Rita and manager Don Taylor, the attack was believed to be politically motivated.

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at's list of the top 50 dirtiest and sexiest album cover art, this time #20 (Gigwise comments in quotes):

20. Fausto Papetti:'18a Raccolta' - "If you were being pedantic you could charge Sebastien Tellier with pilfering Fausto Papetti's idea of a small vehicle straddling a woman's naked body. That aside, we're just wondering whether he's going to make it up that steep hill..."

Hmmm, I see a pattern here, small objects on large hilly breasts, anything to sell music I guess. Can't wait to see tomorrows post....