Friday, September 15, 2006

Supernova change their name

After being ordered by a judge to change their name because it is already taken, Supernova has now changed its name to Rock Star: Supernova, which was the name of the reality TV show in which the rock supergroup chose their frontman Lukas Rossi. Here is an article about it:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14842454

Yes, that is an awkward name for a band. I would have gotten rid of the colon, and maybe even the space between "Rock" and "Star". Oh, well. I hope they've cleared the name with CBS and with Mark Burnett, so they won't be forced to change it again.

I would hate to be in charge of their marketing and graphic design, considering the copy changes that now must need to be made. What a mess!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - and the winner is...

...Lukas Rossi.

Surprised? Me neither. Tommy Lee claims that the decision was made based on viewer voting. We know better. Tommy has been fawning over Lukas all summer long. Gilby Clarke has said he is “inspired” when he watches Lukas. Jason Newsted was initially critical of him, but hasn’t been lately. I think their minds were made up some time ago. Tommy’s was possibly made up from the beginning. During the broadcast of the finale, a commercial for the new season of Survivor aired. For no apparent reason, the commercial contained footage of Lukas singing "Headspin". It was obviously a not-so-subliminal message from Mark Burnett. It was kinda like watching the movie Easy Rider where you see the final shot before the movie is over.

I do hope the guys from Supernova (or whatever they will be called) remain happy with their choice. Out of the final four -- heck, out of the final eight, Lukas was my least favorite. But, hey, it's not my band. The new band-formerly-known-as-Supernova had their pick of some very good singers, so I assume they know what they are doing.

The show closed with the now-complete supergroup performing their originals "Be Yourself" (the one we heard Toby sing before) and "It's All Love" (the one we heard Magni sing before). Magni played guitar on the latter. The songs still don’t impress me, but (for better or for worse) Lukas Rossi seems to fit Supernova (or whatever their name will be) like a glove.

Why do I keep saying that, you ask? Apparently, the Supernova name is already owned by a California punk band. On the day of the finale’s taping, a judge ruled that Tommy Lee and company must change their band’s name. You'd think Lee or someone else would have investigated this sooner. How long have these guys been in the business?

On Tuesday night, Lukas sang the Coldplay song “Fix You” in a different voice than we are used to hearing from him. He also played a low-key acoustic version of his song “Headspin”. It was nice to hear him “change it up”, as they say, but the set didn’t thrill me. On Wednesday night, he sang the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”. It was a cool, hard-edged rendition of the song, and it made him look better.

Dilana was the runner-up in the competition. For her consolation prize, she gets to tour with Supernova (or whatever their name will be) and perform with the house band. Also, Gilby offered to help her with writing and production on her CD. And, of course, Dave Navarro said he’d play on it. What has Tommy been saying all summer? “There are no losers here!”

On Tuesday night, Dilana sang the Police’s “Roxanne”, which is not an easy song to pull off (ask Chris Pierson). Her arrangement sounded a lot like a Sting solo performance of the song, and her voice lent itself well to it. She also sang her original song “Supersoul” again. It still sounds average, but it sounded better this time. Maybe it just needs to grow on me. On Wednesday, she sang the Cranberries’ “Zombie”, and sang it better than she previously sang it.

Magni’s performances from both nights proved that the best singer didn’t win. On Tuesday, he did a great job on Deep Purple’s “Hush”, adding his own vocal dynamics to it. He also performed his original song “When The Time Comes” again. Tommy actually claimed that it was the least memorable of the four originals. Give me a break. On Wednesday, Magni went out with another blazing performance of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”. Move ova, ‘Nova, and let Magni take over! I’m glad Gilby was chosen to give Magni the news of his elimination, because I was fed up with Tommy’s inane criticisms of him. Magni is probably lucky he didn’t get this gig. He can now go home to his family. And will someone please, please give the man a U.S. distribution deal?

Toby’s Tuesday night performance of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” sounded iffy at first, but once he found his way, it worked fine. He also performed his original “Throw It Away” again. It’s still fun. It would be nice if Toby’s band Juke Kartel could also get a record deal, if only so that “Throw It Away” can become a hit single. Because Toby was the second “bottom two” contestant to get the axe on Wednesday, he got to perform two songs for the finale: Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” (not bad, but he was better off with “Rebel Yell”) and the Killers’ “Somebody Told Me” (he nailed it – again).

Of the contestants who were eliminated earlier, Ryan Star received the most “fan favorite” votes. He was therefore able to come back on Tuesday night’s show and perform his original song “Back Of Your Car” again, and to drive away in a new set of wheels. It was good to see him, and to hear his original once more. There is a limited edition album available for download from the official site called Dark Horse: A Live Collection, which presumably contains Ryan’s performances from the show. If you’re interested, here is the link:

http://supernovanews.com/

I was a bit disappointed that the other eliminated contestants did not return for a curtain call like the Rock Star: INXS contestants did for the finale. Couldn’t they at least have wrung 15 more seconds of fame out of this show? Also, there was talk before the season started about “guest judges” appearing, including Slash, Moby, and Macy Gray. That didn’t happen, either.

As the finale was coming to a close, Brooke Burke once again spoke of the possibility of another season of Rock Star. It would be nice. Regardless of who the featured artist would be, it would again be fun to see 15 talented singers lifted out of obscurity to perform classic songs on prime time network TV. It’s a much better show than American Idol, that's for sure. Paula Abdul even attended the taping of the Tuesday night show, and looked embarrassed to be caught on camera there. Busted!

Official site:
http://rockstar.msn.com/

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - Week ten

Storm Large didn’t make it to the final round of Rock Star: Supernova. I figured there wouldn’t be more than one female left standing for the finale. I will miss Her Largeness, but – whatever. The show only has one week to go. I guess I’ll miss all of them after next Wednesday. Or almost all of them.

Like the other four contestants, Storm sang a cover song plus an original song on Tuesday’s performance show. First, she did David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”. Her vocal could have been better, but she had attitude to spare, and that made it entertaining. Attitude was the key word for her original song “What the What is Ladylike”. (In case you didn’t know, the second “what” was substituted for the “f’ word). It was fun to watch and hear, but Dave Navarro (who performed the Bowie song with her, and interacted well with her) must have been high when he said it was the best original song in the show’s history. It was good to hear Storm scale it down for her Wednesday performance of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”, but it made no big impression, and it didn’t keep her on the show.

I’ve seen some of Storm’s non-TV performances on YouTube and at this site. There is plenty to say about her. She’s beautiful. She’s talented. She’s irreverent. She’s fearless. And she’s shameless. Storm is fun in small doses, but an entire CD (or an entire evening) of her foul-mouthed-beauty-queen act may be too much. We’ll see if the mainstream can handle her.

So, who kicked butt this week? Toby! Let’s get the trivial stuff out of the way first. He sang the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and did a fine job, just as he did with “Somebody Told Me” earlier in the season. But his original song “Throw It Away” was a showstopper. I couldn’t sit still while he performed his immediately likable song. It won him the encore – and a new set of wheels.

Lukas gave his most riveting performances to date. First, he creatively rearranged Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”. The verses sounded good, but the choruses were anticlimactic. His original song “Headspin” had power. For his Wednesday night performance (he was in the bottom three! Finally!), he performed “Headspin” again. He’s a gutsy guy, I’ll give him that. But the song seemed less potent that time. Was his performance less potent, or is the song already getting old the second time?

Magni first did the Beatles’ “Back In The U.S.S.R.”, followed by his original song “When The Time Comes”. I enjoyed both. His phrasing was on-target in both cases. On Wednesday, he was selected to front Supernova for their original song. It was no great shakes, but I would say that it was the best SN original we’ve heard to date, and I think the reason is because Magni elevated it. Supernova is going to be making a mistake by not choosing him as the winner. But I’ll get back to that shortly.

Dilana the drama queen started off with a surprisingly pretty take on the Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes”, mostly eschewing her usual grit. But her original song “Supersoul” was adequate at best, and it certainly paled next to the other originals. As we all know by now, lyrics are not Dilana’s strong suit, and the lyrics of “Supersoul” were clichéd and forgettable. For her Wednesday night performance, she chose to rearrange Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” as a fitful punk-rock song. It got off to a shaky start, but it worked okay after it began to make sense. Supernova gave her a standing O, and let her stick around for the finale.

Next week is the end. Time to make the final predictions! Out of the four remaining contestants, Magni is my personal fave. He is technically the best vocalist, and he outshines them all in terms of consistency as well. But he won’t be the winner, because he is too refined for Supernova. Tommy Lee has been groping for most of the season to find ways to criticize Magni, and about all he can come up with is that Magni isn’t raw enough for his taste. By the way – I loved Magni’s snappy comeback to Tommy’s remark on Tuesday night. In any case, Magni will not be the one who fronts Supernova. I hope his Icelandic band A Moti Sol gets a U.S. distribution deal out of this.

Will it be Dilana? Nah. I know they were touting her as living proof that a woman can front Supernova. But they are not going to go that route. A rock band fronted by a woman is usually thought of as a backing band. (Examples range from Big Brother and the Holding Company all the way to No Doubt). Gilby and Jason might be able to live with that, but Tommy’s ego will never allow it. Besides, Dilana’s recent meltdown has got to make them uneasy. Gilby essentially wrote her off in the last webisode. She won’t be the one.

The smart money is on Lukas. I don’t claim to have inside information like Janet Charlton. Based on my observations, Tommy has been salivating over Lukas since week two, if not since the very beginning. Jason was critical of Lukas in the early going, but he seems to have warmed up to him somewhat. Lukas Rossi will probably be the lead singer of Supernova.

But we probably shouldn’t run the Dewey-defeats-Truman headline just yet. I won’t be surprised if Toby Rand turns out to be the man chosen for the job. I had him pegged early as a standout in the competition, but he lost his footing along the way, and has made some near-fatal missteps in the past. But he has really gotten back in the game these last few weeks. And Jason and Gilby both seem to be pulling for him. (Tommy seems to have a certain kind of affection for him, too – but we won’t go there). Toby just might edge Lukas out.

Whatever the case may be, Supernova aren’t taking any chances on the success of their upcoming tour. There will be at least two other attractions. Navarro’s new band Panic Channel (which is basically Jane’s Addiction without Perry Farrell) will be touring with them. And so will the House Band, along with some yet-to-be-named contestants.

Also, Brooke Burke mentioned something about viewers being able to vote for an eliminated contestant to perform on the show next week. I plan to vote for Matt Hoffer, just for the fun of it. Also, Brooke mentioned that next week will be the last chance that viewers will have to vote for their favorite rockers. Which raises the question: what will be the point of that?

Official site:
http://rockstar.msn.com/

1987 Syd Barrett tribute album

Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #12 is completed. The subject is Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett, which was released in 1987. It consisted of covers by various (and mostly unknown) artists of songs by Syd Barrett, the original Pink Floyd founder who passed away this past July.

http://rarebird9.net/syd.html