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File: July 2008

| June 30, 2008 | 0 Comments

Together Again

The spark is back for Hawthorne Heights and Victory Records. Though the Ohio band and their Chicago label have an incredibly successful track record together — 2004’s The Silence In Black & White went platinum, and 2006’s If Only You Were Lonely reached gold — the last few years have been messy.

In 2006, Heights announced their intentions to leave Victory and sued the label for breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement, fraud, and abuse; Victory responded by countersuing for libel and breach of contract. A Chicago judge dismissed the group’s trademark and copyright allegations, but a year later a federal judge ruled Victory did not hold exclusive rights for the band’s recording services, and they can record for any label.

But, apparently, they won’t. In June, Victory circulated a press release announcing Hawthorne Heights agreed to drop, in its entirety, their 2006 lawsuit and will release their third studio album, Fragile Future, via Victory in August. “We now regret having begun the lawsuit we filed in 2006,” drummer Eron Bucciarelli said without Victory owner Tony Brummel standing next to him pounding a clenched fist into the palm of his other hand. “We should not have listened to those, who, for whatever reasons, were then advising us to pursue this strategy.”

Brummel, understandably, sees the reconciliation as part of the bigger picture. “Our country has just seen and experienced historic change with the Democratic nomination of Barack Obama. Everything happens for a reason and there is tremendous positivity in the air.”

M.I.A.’S A&E S.N.A.F.U.

Musicians, like professional athletes, don’t lie about retirement, so we’re taking this whole M.I.A. thing seriously. Various media outlets, including the New York Times, reported the Sri Lankan hip-hopstress repeatedly told concert-goers at June’s Bonnaroo festival that they were watching her “last gig ever.”

Just a few days before that June 13th performance, M.I.A. (real name Maya Arulpragasam) cancelled a summer European tour, citing the usuals like exhaustion (“It’s too insane. I was losing a sense of just, like, reality”), artistic integrity (“I’m an artist and it’s really difficult when you become the art, and you’re like, ‘Look at me!’ every day. I was never supposed to be like that”), and of course touring being so damn hard (“It takes a lot out of you, physically”) in an interview with Nymag.com. As of press time, her label, Interscope, had neither denied or confirmed their artist’s claim.

If (we put it in italics to emphasize it’s a big fucking if) she actually makes good on the whole “last gig ever” threat, it apparently won’t mean the end of her recording career. In the same Nymag.com interview M.I.A. claimed to already be working on songs for the follow up to last year’s Kala.

SOLD THEIR SOULS FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

What do iconic Australian hard rockers AC/DC have in common with iconic American soft rockers the Eagles? You won’t be able to find either of their new albums anywhere outside Wal-Mart’s web.

Angus and Malcom Young will take a cue from the Don Henley and Glenn Frey playbook and release their band’s new, as-yet-untitled album exclusively through the retail giant. Still good for nearly a million units (2000’s Stiff Upper Lip has moved 930,000, according to Soundscan) per album, AC/DC are expected to tour after the album’s release. Maybe they could team up with Eagles, Garth Brooks, and Journey, all of whom have/had similar deals with Wal-Mart.

We’re all for musicians making their coin, but not at the cost of the struggling indie record stores desperate for a proven seller like AC/DC to boost foot traffic. And don’t forget you, the consumer, who now have to run the gauntlet of screaming children, 400-pound aisle hogs, and NASCAR merchandise that is Wal-Mart to buy this album.

Then again, maybe you don’t. A reader comment on a Wired blog (where nearly 62-percent of those who voted in a poll said the band should not give Wal-Mart exclusive rights; roughly 30-percent said they didn’t care — only 9.2 percent said they should) probably summed it up best with this post: “Yay! Now I don’t even need to hear the album to know that it’s going to suck. Bon Scott must be puking in his grave right about now.”

— Trevor Fisher

Category: Columns, File, Monthly

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