July 27, 2009

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

(PR)—Experience the very first chapter of the exciting X-Men saga through the eyes of a true Marvel legend when X-Men Origins: Wolverine arrives Blu-ray Disc (BD) and Special Edition DVD September 15 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Hugh Jackman (Australia, Deception) returns as the iconic character in an epic adventure that pits Wolverine and all mutants against powerful forces determined to eliminate them. Spanning over 150 years,X-Men Origins: Wolverine chronicles young James Logan and his tortured past… from boy, to man, to mutant. From conflicts with his half brother Victor Creed– aka Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber; Defiance, The Ten), his membership in Team X, his infamous adamantium rebirth and the total memory loss that ultimately fuels his angry quest, X-Men Origins: Wolverine paints the vivid and difficult journey of the legendary superhero.

KATY PERRY'S WAKING UP IN VEGAS

(PR)— What wakes up in Vegas...couldn't possibly remain a secret, if it has anything to do with KATY PERRY, the Capitol Records multi-platinum singer-songwriter who has completely captured the fun, the rhythm, the smarts, the look and the sound of our times in her smash debut album ONE OF THE BOYS.

WAKING UP IN VEGAS, the fourth hit single from the album, is this week's No. 1 most-played record on the mainstream top 40 pop radio stations across the country, an extraordinary feat of late-game staying power for Perry, whose story began, amazingly, a full fourteen months ago with the official release of Katy’s first worldwide No. 1 hit, "I Kissed a Girl." With the album's second single, "Hot N Cold," also a No. 1 in the format, Perry is only the fourth artist in the history of Billboard's mainstream top 40 airplay chart to have scored three No. 1s from a debut album: Katy joins Ace of Base, Avril Lavigne and Lady GaGa in this accomplishment.

The public enthusiasm for Perry, her music -- and, honestly, everything about her, has continued unabated since her sensational arrival and top 10 album debut: last week, Katy appeared on the popular Rockefeller Center concert series of NBC's Today show, and on August 8th will fill in as solo host, fittingly, on her pal Ryan Seacrest's "American Top 40" weekly radio countdown show.

Perry has also completed taping an episode of MTV's signature Unplugged series for cablecast this year, and shot a special in-studio performance for Clear Channel Radio's online Stripped feature. And she continues to dominate the magazine covers of 2009, most recently Billboard, Paper, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan and Complex. Also in the upper reaches of the national pop chart, Perry is the co-writer of Kelly Clarkson's current single, "I Do Not Hook Up," from the No. 1 album, All I Ever Wanted.

WAKING UP IN VEGAS was co-written by Perry with veteran hitmakers Andreas Carlsson and Desmond Child. The track was produced by Greg Wells. Grammy and MTV Video Music Award winner Joseph Kahn directed the video clip, filmed in a two-day Las Vegas shoot co-starring Joel David Moore (Bones, House, Avatar, Grandma’s Boy).

Katy’s first two single releases, the seven-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "I Kissed a Girl" and the No. 1 mainstream top 40 radio hit "Hot N Cold," are RIAA-certified for triple-platinum sales. ONE OF THE BOYS also includes the #1 VH1 Countdown ballad hit "Thinking of You" and the pre-album online video blockbuster of late 2007, "Ur So Gay." Katy Perry is a Brit Award and MTV Europe Music Award winner, and is also a Grammy Award, MTV Video Music Award and Teen Choice Award nominee. Katy has played 150 shows around the world since she joined the Van’s Warped Tour on June 20, 2008, including 55 sold-out headlining "Hello Katy" concerts.

KATY PERRY UPCOMING APPEARANCES, LATE SUMMER 2009

July 28 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom

July 30 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata

August 2 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless

August 4 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amp. (w/No Doubt)

August 29 Los Angeles, CA tba

August 30 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl

September 4 Salem, OR Oregon State Fair

September 5 Seattle, WA Bumbershoot

A MADONNA MUSIC CELEBRATION DVD

(PRESS RELEASE)— Madonna, who has racked up a record 37 top 10 hits as well as seven No. 1 albums (including her last four) on the Billboard Pop Charts, has given her fans yet another opportunity to “celebrate” her musical achievements. Today, Warner Bros. Records officially confirmed the September 29th release in the U.S. (September 28 outside U.S.) of “CELEBRATION” – the ultimate compilation of Madonna songs. The songs on “Celebration” have all been remastered and selected by Madonna and her fans. They cover the expanse of the Material Girl’s extraordinary career of hits including “Everybody,” “Express Yourself,” “Vogue” and “4 Minutes.” “Celebration” will be available in a two-CD set as well as a single CD. There will also be a “Celebration” DVD released simultaneously which includes the video visionary’s best videos including several that have never before been available on DVD.

“Celebration,” the CD will also include two new songs that were recently recorded in New York City. The first single, also titled “Celebration,” co-produced by Madonna and Paul Oakenfold, will be released August 3rd. A video for the single, which will be included on the “Celebration” DVD, was just filmed in Milan, Italy and was directed by long time Madonna collaborator Jonas (“Ray of Light”) Akerlund. Several dance club remixes of “Celebration” are already headed to the clubs. The song will also be available on CD and vinyl maxi. Radio will receive the “Celebration” single on August 3rd.

The cover for “Celebration” was created by street pop artist “Mr. Brainwash” who is best known for “throwing modern cultural icons into a blender and turning it up to eleven.” (A copy of the cover image of the “Celebration” CDs and DVDs is attached)

Madonna, a multi Grammy award winning singer, writer and producer has had over 12 No. 1 singles and has a record-smashing 39 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs Chart – by far the most of any artist in the over 30 year history of the list.

July 25, 2009

COMIC CON 2009 NEW MOON SNEAK PEEKS 1 AND 2

HERE ARE THE LONG WAITED COMIC-CON 2009 SNEAK PEEKS AT NEW MOON. Just ignore the rabid screaming. We can't help that. So are you TEAM EDWARD or TEAM JACOB? We want to know! (Hint, hint): We are TEAM EDWARD all the way!

July 23, 2009

B.B. King Blues - KC and THE SUNSHINE BAND on August 24

Monday, August 24 KC and THE SUNSHINE BAND File Under: Pop, Disco Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm $35 adv, $40 at door KC and The Sunshine Band is still as widely popular today as they were when they first danced onto the music scene 36 years ago. Harry Wayne Casey – KC, for short – developed a unique fusion of R&B and funk, with a hint of a Latin percussion groove, giving us an impressive string of hits like Get Down Tonight, That’s The Way (I Like It) and Shake Your Booty. With sales of over 75 million records, nine Grammy nominations, three Grammy Awards and The American Music Award, KC and the Sunshine Band are one of the seminal forces in pop. The group pioneered an original funk style that continues to delight old fans and attract new ones into the millennium. Hits like Get Down Tonight, That's the Way (I Like It) and Shake Your Booty established KC as a mover and shaker in the music business. Along with the Beatles, KC is the only artist to have four number one singles in the span of a year: Boogie Shoes, Get Down Tonight, That's the Way I Like It, and Rock Your Baby.

THE COMIC-CON NEW MOON PRESS CONFERENCE

THOUSANDS OF FANS ATTENDED THE ANNUAL SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON TO SEE NEW MOON STARS ROBERT PATTINSON, KRISTEN STEWART AND TAYLOR LAUTNER. ENJOY THE CLIP FROM E! ONLINE.

BEASTIE BOY HAS CANCER

The Beastie Boys have announced that their upcoming tour and album Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 have been postponed indefinitely, after a cancerous tumor was found in group member Adam “MCA” Yauch. Representatives for the group told AllHipHop.com that a cancerous tumor was found in Yauch’s left parotid (salivary) gland. Luckily, the tumor was caught early and is localized to one area, but the treatable tumor will require surgery and several weeks of treatment. Also, reps said the tumor was in an area that would not impact Yauch’s vocal cords. “Our thoughts, love and prayers are with Adam Yauch, his family and the Beastie Boys,” representatives for the group’s label, EMI told AllHipHop.com in statement. “The most important thing is to allow Adam to focus on staying healthy. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”

July 22, 2009

NEW VIDEO OF ROBERT PATTINSON ON THE REMEMBER ME SET

We know you can't get enough of seeing the hunky Brit on the set of REMEMBER ME. So, here's Day 19 on location in New York City.
Also, here's Rob on the cover of the new People Magazine out on Friday, July 24.

July 21, 2009

THE BEATLES Box Of Vision® Ushers In A New Era For Beatles Fans And Collectors

In anticipation of the September 2009 release of The Beatles' digitally re-mastered catalog, THE BEATLES Box Of Vision® is now available for pre-order at www.BoxOfVision.com for late August delivery, and will be available at select retailers this Fall. Officially licensed by Apple Corps Ltd., the stunning collection includes: *A 200-page LP-size book containing all of The Beatles' LP artwork, brilliantly restored in pristine new art prints. This is the first time that all of The Beatles UK and US album artwork has been collected together in a single LP sized book.
From PLEASE PLEASE ME and MEET THE BEATLES through LOVE, this book includes front covers, back covers, gatefolds, inserts, and the complete LP booklets from MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, LET IT BE...NAKED and LOVE, arranged to create the feeling of holding and enjoying the entire LP collection in your lap. *The "Catalography," a brand new, full color discography guide with photos, text and track-listings, providing the first-ever side-by-side presentation of the UK albums and their US counterparts, with an exclusive essay by Beatles author and historian Bruce Spizer. *The BoxOfVision storage book, a unique and elegant way for fans to organize and display all 32 discs of The Beatles' core catalog. Fans may insert CDs and booklets from their existing collections or the new digitally re-mastered versions-the BoxOfVision was built to store and display the digi-pak boxes that will house the newly re-mastered CDs. Ideal for fans, collectors and holiday gift giving, the set is housed in an elegant black, linen-covered box with silver embossed Beatles logos and faux Beatles LP spines. The 13" x 13" box features the iconic image of The Beatles photographed by Robert Freeman for the cover of WITH THE BEATLES (released as MEET THE BEATLES in the US).
Once a fan inserts their CDs, they are able to store and display The Beatles entire body of work in a single, elegant book. THE BEATLES Box Of Vision was conceived by Jonathan Polk, a music industry veteran with more than 20 years experience. "It's the ultimate fan piece," says Polk, who served as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Capitol Records during the period in which it released The Beatles LOVE album, LET IT BE...NAKED, and THE BEATLES CAPITOL ALBUMS VOL. 1 and VOL. 2.
"The Beatles invented the rock album format and it was my goal to help ensure that fans can continue to discover and appreciate this single greatest catalog of music the way it was originally created." "I have always been frustrated with the available options for organizing and storing CDs," continues Polk, who is also the inventor of the Box of Vision's patented CD storage structure. "And, I hated the fact that the beautiful LP artwork I grew up with was reduced to almost postage stamp size on CDs. The Box Of Vision gives fans the best of all worlds." For a limited time, individuals who pre-order at www.BoxOfVision.com will reserve a limited edition, individually numbered first edition/first printing of THE BEATLES Box Of Vision. This collector's edition will not exceed 7,200 copies. Shipment will commence in mid-August, just prior to Apple Corps Ltd and EMI Music's September 9th release of the original Beatles catalog, which has been digitally re-mastered for the first time.

ENCORE: Scott Ian's Online Poker Tournament

Play Poker with Scott Ian, Jerry Cantrell, Vinnie Paul, Kirk Hammett, Greg Tribbett and Poker Legends Phill Hellmuth and Annie Duke
Los Angeles, CA-- Get ready to rock the UltimateBet poker tables in the encore performance of Scott Ian's HomeGame , an online poker tournament set to take place August 19th at 9:00PM ET. Swap your guitar chips for poker chips to win one of 11 exclusive seats in Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian's Home game where you could find yourself seated next to rock legends and poker pros, and shooting for the stars in the ultimate Rock 'n Roll Sit-and-Go for a trip to the Aruba Poker Classic. "UltiimateBet players showed huge support for my first Home game on UB back in March," said UltimateBet pro Scott Ian, who was reached for comment on a break from play during the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. "With an Aruba Poker Classic package up for grabs this time, expect the competition to be fierce."
The star-studded line up in Scott Ian's Home Game is headlined by Ian, Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne, who are set to put their own unique metal edge on the UB Hold 'em tables, where online poker players will be able to chat with the rock stars through the UltimateBet software's chat feature. Rounding out the list of poker legends featured in the Texas Hold'em tournament are 11-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and World Poker Champion Annie Duke. Online poker players are invited to secure their spot in the Scott Ian Home Game Main Event Qualifier via daily satellites at 10:30 PM ET for as little as 1000 UltimatePoints, with each one paying out one seat for every ten players ente red. Winners will receive automatic entry to the August 18th 10,000 UltimatePoints Main Event, where 10 seats in Scott Ian's Home Game are at stake. One additional seat will be offered up to UB's VIP players through a special invitation-only online poker freeroll.
The top five places in the Scott Ian Home Game will be awarded a range of prizes and tournament entries, including an $8,500 Aruba Poker Classic prize package to go to the Home Game champion, plus Scott Ian will have a $200 bounty on his head. The 18-player Sit-and-Go is sure to fill even faster this time around, and with only 11 seats available exclusively at UltimateBet, players should be quick to get in on the action. A full rundown on the tournament schedule for the Scott Ian Home Game can be found at UltimateBet.com.
This October will see the release of Worship Music, the brand new album from Scott Ian's band, Anthrax, considered one of metal's all-time great acts. Along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, Anthrax is credited with originating the thrash genre and has sold more than 10-million albums worldwide.

July 20, 2009

ON THE SET: NEW MOON ON THE RISE

TEEN DRAMA: “New Moon” finds a smitten Jacob (Taylor Lautner) trying to comfort Bella (Kristen Stewart), who mourns Edward’s abrupt departure.
This is great piece on the making of New Moon, particularly the parts where Robert Pattinson's head is to be digitally inserted the scenes where Kristen Stewart playing Bella sees hunky vampire Edward Cullen in her mind's eye warning her of potential recklessness.
(Photo Credit): Courtesy of Summit
Complicated special effects, not to mention relationships, abound in the Chris Weitz-directed sequel, set for theaters in November.
By Gina McIntyre
July 19, 2009
(LA Times)—Reporting from Vancouver, Canada -- Robert Pattinson is having an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment. Inside a soundstage where "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" is shooting, the lanky English heartthrob stands in front of a tall, wide green screen murmuring a tender admonition, "You promised me nothing reckless." Motion capture cameras hurtle toward him across a length of track affixed to the stage floor, while a team of technicians studies his stance and the tilt of his head. The plan is to digitally insert Pattinson, who plays swoony good guy vampire Edward Cullen, into a scene that was filmed much earlier -- one in which he appears as a spectral vision to his costar, Kristen Stewart, cautioning her headstrong character, Bella Swan, against hanging out with some unsavory-looking biker types. For the effect to work, Pattinson's image will need to be dropped in at exactly the right position, so despite the cast and crew nearing the end of a very long early May day, perfectionism is still the standard. MORE>>

July 19, 2009

TWEEN PRINCESS, TWEAKED

This is a great in-depth piece on Disney Channel teen star, Demi Lovato. The New York Times really breaks down Lovato's success and position among the other famous and more popular Disney Channel stars like Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. It's these type of stories that are essential to my line of work s a teen star editor.
(The New York Times)—The several thousand shrieking girls in the audience might not have noticed, but things weren’t going smoothly for Demi Lovato during her concert at the Prudential Center here last month. For the first few minutes, as she sang and pranced across the stage, not a sound came from her microphone. Later she flubbed lyrics on a few songs. On Ms. Lovato’s face, barely masked by the grin of the longtime pro, were persistent flashes of concern, discomfort and fear.

It was the night before her latest film, “Princess Protection Program,” was to make its debut on the Disney Channel, where Ms. Lovato, 16, is an ascendant star, the heiress apparent to the tween-pop crown.

But where in the not-too-distant past that would have meant she was an automaton of joy and relatability, Ms. Lovato is already proving to be far more intriguing, and far less predictable. MORE>>

BOOKS, MOVIES AND FULL FRONTAL NUDITY

On The Mac Wire Guest Blogger, Ernie Paniccioli

Ernie Paniccioli has been documenting the birth, growth, and evolution of hip hop culture through the art of photography for many years, and his contributions to the industry are tremendous. It is my sincere honor to hand my blog over to Ernie for the day. He is truly dedicated to showcasing the positivity that runs rampant in hip hop. Do yourselves a favor and check out Mr. Paniccioli’s various works, such as his book entitled “Who Shot Ya? ". I assure you, as fans of hip hop, you won’t be disappointed. (including 9 new books at www.lulu.com)

Here it is, late 2007, we’ve survived the arrival of Christianity, the Europeans, the land grabs, cultural destruction, decimation of the tribes, slavery, a civil war, an emancipation proclamation, reconstruction, the so called Indian wars, the Spanish American War, two world wars, a major depression, segregation, a so called Civil Rights act, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and more. And how do we celebrate? Every four years we revive a national ritual called, solemnly, "The Presidential Election". And how do we celebrate? We round up a pack of fetid, rabid, racist, clueless millionaires, give them state of the art makeovers, hire armies of public relations manipulators of the public will, ignore public opinion, and meld fantasy, fear, patriotism, hokum and mindless rhetoric only to go through a banal, tasteless, scripted orgy of hype, smoke and mirrors, and blarney that would make P.T. Barnum green with envy.

In the midst of this madness and mind rot I decided to release a simple, quiet, inspirational movie. No, it is not a Disney film, nor a high minded morality tale, but rather the true story of my life. From the slums of Brooklyn, to homelessness through the Vietnam War, to a magic encounter with Hip Hop, to becoming a legend in Hip Hop Photography and the author of a 30 year look at Hip Hop Photography by one raw, tough, creative, Native American called "Who Shot Ya?".

Did I get your attention?

The film is called "The Other Side of Hip Hop" and it just won Best Documentary in The Big Apple FiIm Festival and features Afrika Bambaataa (the founder of The Universal Zulu Nation), Chuck D of Public Enemy fame, and many other Hip Hop icons. A Martial Arts trained, Native American Hip Hop Photography legend who studied Zen Buddhism and who has lectured at both Harvard and The Nation of Islam and who did a book with Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, and Michael Jordan (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”), and was chosen to be the spokesman for The Temple of Hip Hop at the United Nations and has photographed both the Dalai Lama and Frank Sinatra as well as Jimmy Carter.

If it sounds like a unique man who marches to the beat of a distant drum, you ain’t heard nothing yet.

In my studio I’ve shot an 18 year old Queen Latifah, a young Big Daddy Kane, Wu Tang, Biggy, Puffy, LL Cool J, Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs, L’il Kim, Master P, The Marley Brothers, Ice T, Foxy Brown, Big Pun, Tupac, KRS1, Gangstarr, Goodie Mob, Public Enemy, Richie Havens, Nas, and Mos Def, to name just a few.

Even though the film may be the first award winning Hip Hop movie and the first award for a Native American, the response from the media has been one of cold silence. Perhaps because the movie was made outside of the monied, structured, colonized confines of Hollywood and because it not only does not embrace, but rather discards all of the clichéd myths normally associated with Hip Hop - including nudity, glorification of thuggish behavior, drug use, macho behavior, general dumbness and arrested development. The movie is an exploration of survival, art, photography, TRUE Hip Hop culture; Hip Hop as a tool of communication, empowerment, self identity, and how to use the basic laws of the Universe to thrive and grow in a dying nation.

The website with a trailer available at http://www.ourgang62.com/ . For this film to succeed, we need all bloggers, web-site owners, internet dwellers, and those who love life, art, beauty, and Hip Hop, to scream loud and long: "This is the movie we’ve been waiting for. Here is the raw, naked, ugly, beautiful, unvarnished, truth. And like it or not, it is here."

Peace and thanks,

Ernie Paniccioli

For more info On Ernie and The Other Side of Hip Hop, visit: http://hiphopotherside.com

July 18, 2009

ASK ROB THOMAS ANYTHING!

This is a great clip of ROB THOMAS from VH1. We've interviewed Rob before, but never asked him what these folks did! Enjoy!
Rob Thomas’ second solo album “cradlesong” is the follow-up to his record-setting solo album “…Something to Be” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart and marked the first time a male artist from a rock or pop group debuted at #1 with his first solo album. The first single off “cradlesong,” “Her Diamonds,” already gave the multi-platinum singer songwriter his best Hot 100 start in his 16th overall trip to the Billboard chart and continues to grow at radio.

Rob Thomas is one of the most distinctive vocalists and accomplished songwriters in contemporary music, garnering a string of accolades – both for his work as lead singer and primary composer with matchbox twenty as well as for his solo work and collaborations with other artists. In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame presented Thomas with its premiere “Starlight Award” – created to recognize a songwriter in the early years of his or her career that has already made a lasting impact. He has won numerous BMI and ASCAP Awards, and has earned the Songwriter of the Year crown from both Billboard and BMI, two years in a row.

Thomas has written and performed a remarkable string of hits, including matchbox twenty’s #1-charting “Push,” “3AM,” “If You’re Gone,” “Bent,” “Disease,” and “Unwell,” plus such favorites as “Real World,” “Back 2 Good,” “Mad Season,” and “Bright Lights.” His smash collaboration with Santana, the Thomas-penned “Smooth,” earned Rob three Grammy Awards and ranks #1 on Billboard’s “Top Hot 100 Rock Songs” chart and #2 on the magazine’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.” He has also worked with the likes of Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony and Bernie Taupin. Combining all of his projects, Thomas has contributed to sales of more than 80 million records.

DREAM THEATER GEAR UP FOR NEW TOUR

(PR)—DREAM THEATER's publicity firm, MSO, has released the following question-and-answer session with the band's drummer, Mike Portnoy: Q: Congrats on the massive global success that has greeted "Black Clouds & Silver Linings": a #1 debut on the Billboard European chart and 12 Top Ten album chart debuts around the world including the U.S. Can you talk about what this accomplishment means to DREAM THEATER? Portnoy: It's incredibly gratifying at this stage of our career. After 10 studio albums and almost 25 years in the business, it's amazing to seeDREAM THEATER is still growing. The fact that we can achieve such a "commercial" accomplishment on our own artistic terms (without any real "mainstream" exposure) is also a true feat. An album with four songs over the length of 12 minutes each entering the U.S. Top 10? Surely this is completely unheard of in these times and speaks volumes of our incredibly dedicated fan base. Q: Various mainstream media outlets have been slow to applaud DREAM THEATER's achievements through the years which include sales of 10,000,000 records and DVDs, despite the fact that the band has always released adventurous music with a high caliber of musicianship. Why do you think that is? Portnoy: Well... daring, challenging and "against the grain" music is usually harder to swallow and takes a little more nurturing and attention. Our style of progressive music is obviously not going to be everybody's cup of tea... but like a good book or film, if you're willing to put in the time to take the journey, it's going to be that much more satisfying. But it's OK — it's better to take the slow road and eventually arrive, then to take the fast lane and quickly crash & burn! Q: What do you feel are some of the misconceptions about DREAM THEATER? Portnoy: The absolute biggest misconception is that we put technical acrobatics ahead of songwriting. This honestly could not be further from the truth. Sure, we do put a strong emphasis on the musicianship and the instrumental passages - but we also always make sure they are balanced throughout each album with equally melodic and dynamic songs. For every 12-minute epic we write, there are also songs like "Wither","Forsaken" and "I Walk Beside You" — songs that could easily sit on commercial radio if they didn't have the preconceived stereotype that is usually attached to DREAM THEATER. Q: You've said that "The Best of Times" from the new album is "about losing my dad, who was battling cancer throughout the making of this record," and that "The Shattered Fortress" represents "the closing chapter to a 12-part series of songs dealing with the 12 steps of recovery, which started five albums ago." These are both intense, personal subjects for you, and these songs at the same time offer comfort to, and inspire, listeners. Can you talk a bit about your decision to communicate these feelings in songs? Portnoy: I've always written very personal lyrics throughout our career — really, most of them have always been from incidents and experiences in my life. I've always responded better to human emotion rather than fantasy, politics or poetic metaphors. I've never had a problem sharing my personal feelings and my experiences with the listener and I'm aware I am opening myself up when doing so... but if anything, it's always been therapeutic for me. And I've been told hundreds of times by fans all around the world that they've often been helped, inspired and even healed by some of the topics I've shared. Q: You have said: "We're probably the only band that can fill Radio City Music Hall in New York or Wembley Arena in London or the Budokan in Tokyo and still not be a household name." How would you like DREAM THEATER to be remembered in the rock history books? Portnoy: The band with the world's greatest drummer of all time! : ) Q: As the band celebrates a 25th anniversary, its career is on the ascent — AND you are attracting younger fans at the same time. To what do you attribute this? Portnoy: Perhaps it's because we never really followed a "trend"... so when all of the "flavors of the year" change to the next popular sound, any band following that particular trend will usually be left behind in the dust. We've always stuck to our guns and were never exactly "fashionable," so perhaps because of that, our sound and style has endured the test of time. As far as attracting younger fans, I think perhaps it's because although we have remained faithful to our sound and style through the years, we still keep our ear to the ground and try to at least shift with the times to stay "modern" within our genre. Q: This summer marks the second incarnation of the band's Progressive Nation tour of like-minded bands that are known for top-notch musicianship. And yet there are some naysayers out there who write off progressive rock as a genre that sacrifices the art of songwriting in favor of musical fireworks. What do you feel about that viewpoint? Portnoy: Progressive music is currently at an all-time high in terms of creativity and mainstream acceptance. When DREAM THEATER formed in 1985, the word "progressive" was used by critics as an insult... and now in 2009, it is almost a "badge of honor" that critics throw around to champion bands that are willing to experiment, challenge and be daring... and the term can fit bands as diverse as THE MARS VOLTA,RADIOHEAD, MUSE and MASTODON. And musically, the bands I have chosen for the Progressive Nation tours span the spectrum of the term progressive. I conceived Progressive Nation as a platform to help showcase the countless incredibly creative bands and musicians out there today who deserve to play in front of a few thousand people every night and have their music be heard by an audience who will appreciate them. Ultimately, I wanted to share DREAM THEATER's audience with these bands... and share these bands with DREAM THEATER's audience. It's a win-win situation for everybody involved. Q: Which books and/or films have inspired you? Portnoy: I'm not really a book guy, but you won't find a bigger film fanatic than me... it's one of my biggest passions. Directors such asStanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Woody Allen and Paul Thomas Anderson are as big of an influence on me as any of my musical heroes. To see a list of some of my favorites of all time, check out www.mikeportnoy.com/aboutmike/films.aspx. Or you can keep a tab on my current faves on my "Hero Of The Day" blog, www.mikeportnoy.com/forum/m74.aspx. Q: If you could arrange a dinner party with four pop culture figures (living or dead), who would they be? Portnoy: Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler, Quentin Tarantino and Howard Stern. Q: If you were to put the names of three musicians who've passed away on the DREAM THEATER guest list in the hope that their spirits would turn up to gigs, who would they be? Portnoy: Frank Zappa (my biggest musical hero) and Keith Moon andJohn Bonham (my two biggest drum influences in the sky). I would hope they would then bring a bootleg back up with them to share with John Lennon, George Harrison, Freddie Mercury, Randy Rhoads, Cliff Burton, Dimebag Darrell, Jimi Hendrix and Syd Barrett!
FOR MORE INFO ON DREAM THEATER, PLEASE VISIT:

July 13, 2009

Nickelodeon Celebrates 10 Years of Pop Culture Icon SpongeBob SquarePants

On July 17, 1999 SpongeBob SquarePants premiered on Nickelodeon and signaled the birth of a series and character that would become one of the most beloved and popular in television history. To commemorate SpongeBob's 10th anniversary, Nickelodeon is giving its fans the "Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash Weekend." Airing from July 17-19, the 50-hour programming event hosted by Patchy the Pirate will include an unprecedented 11 SpongeBob premieres and a top-10 countdown of celebrities' favorite SpongeBobepisodes. Leading up to the anniversary, Nickelodeon's sister channel VH1 will premiere Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, the first original SpongeBob SquarePants TV documentary from critically acclaimed producers Creadon O'Malley (Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A), on Tuesday, July 14 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
Over the last 10 years, the porous brainchild of creator Steve Hillenburg has grown from a single Saturday morning kids' show to a certified pop culture maverick. Since its launch in July 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon with 70 million viewers monthly, and has been the number-one animated program with Kids 2-11 for more than seven consecutive years. The show is seen in 171 markets in 25 languages and is the most widely distributed property in MTV Networks' history.