3:03 am edt Chuck D Assembles Political CD
Public Enemy Vs. Anti-Defamation League Over Lyrics To 'Swinders Lust'
According to Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, the lyrics of the song seem to directly target Jews and blames them for the poverty in the African-American community.
He also criticized the alleged references to the movie Schindler's List to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, stating that,"The gas chambers began with ugly words, hateful words, and they were permitted to evolve into bricks."
According to SonicNet, a spokesperson from Atomic Pop wrote a letter to the ADL repsonding to the charges, commenting that, "We support artistic freedom, and we are aware that art is always subject to interpretation." At press time, Atomic Pop wished to make no other comments.
However, a few months ago on Public Enemy's official website, leader Chuck D responded in his "Terrordome" column to early criticisms concerning the song: "I knew some assholes would blindly attack me in the dark. In the beginning, I claimed there were swindlers in all shapes, colors and sizes and left it at that."
Chuck D has asserted that the lyrics in "Swindler's Lust" refer to greedy record executives and their exploitation of their artists, not toward any specific group.
other Public Enemy-related news, Rhino Records will be releasing Chuck
D Presents: Louder Than a Bomb, a collection of politically-oriented hip-hop
anthems. Selected by Chuck D himself, the CD will feature joints by Run-D.M.C.,
the Jungle Brothers, Ice Cube, Grand Master Flash. The CD will hit stores
1:00 pm pdt Chuck D And Rhino Set To Drop The 'Bomb'
In addition to the original version of the classic Grandmaster Flash track "The Message," Louder Than A Bomb includes the previously unreleased "The Message 2000," remixed by Ticc-Tacc and Chuck D.
Louder Than A Bomb is the brainchild of Chuck D and his longtime business partner Phil Nelson. "Political rap doesn't get the record company support it deserves," states Chuck in the package's liner notes. "Fact is, record companies endorse gangsta rap more than music that speaks to the struggle. Why? Because they're threatened by the possibility of young blacks, and whites, discovering the facts. Notice that these record labels were strangely silent when thug styles were causing hood confusion, leading up to the Tupac Shakur/ Notorious B.I.G. murders of the latter part of the decade. But that's most companies. This is Rhino."
CD-only release will be available in stores, as well as through RhinoDirect
CHUCK D WANTS YOU!
collection ranges from old-school pioneers Run-D.M.C. , and Jungle Brothers
to current faves Dr. Dre and Ice Cube . In addition to the original version
of the classic Grand Master Flash track "The Message," LOUDER THAN A BOMB
includes a never-before-released version of this hit, "The Message 2000,"
remixed by Ticc-Tacc and Chuck D. This new CD is the brain child of Chuck
D and his longtime business partner Phil Nelson, President of Quarantine
Inc. "Political rap doesn't get the record company support it deserves,"
states Chuck in the package's liner notes. "Fact is, record companies endorse
gangsta rap more than music that speaks to the struggle. Why? Because they're
threatened by the possibility of young blacks, and whites, discovering
the facts. Notice that these record labels were strangely silent when thug
styles were causing hood confusion, leading up to the Tupac Shakur/Notorious
B.I.G. murders of the latter part of the decade. But that's most companies.
This is Rhino."
ADL Attack PE
One point made specific by Foxman was the lyric, ""Laughin' all the way to the bank/ Remember dem own the banks."
"Controlling banks and controlling the industry have been classical canards of anti-Semitism fed ... into the black community," Foxman said.
Another lyric Foxman criticized was ""Mo' dollars mo' cents for the Big Six/ Another million led to bled claiming their innocence," saying that Chuck is referring to the six million Jews killed in the holocaust, when in actuality, the "Big Six" are the top record companies and the million refer to the men at the Million Man March; which Foxman claims is "unacceptable".
In response to the accusations, Chuck said, "I'm a wordsmith, I knew I was going to raise some attention. There was no harm intended towards anyone." Foxman also disliked the title of the song, which he believes is playing on the idea of the film Schindler's List, a movie about German's trying to save Jews from the Nazi's.
"The truth is the truth," Chuck said. "I think ['Swindler's Lust'] is a hell of a title. People gotta check out the song and tell me whether I'm right or wrong."
Mr. Foxman just doesn't like Chuck or PE.
his part, Chuck D rattled off a more incendiary commentary related to the
dispute in his "Terrordome" newsletter at www.publicenemy.com, writing,
in part: ". . . I knew some assholes would blindly attack me in the dark.
In the beginning, I claimed there were swindlers in all shapes, colors
and sizes and left it at that." Chuck D claimed the lyrics have been misconstrued,
that the song targets record company execs, not Jews. "The word nigger
has been financed into the mainstream over the past seven years only for
swindlers to lust afterwards on the profits made off blood in the streets,"
he wrote in the newsletter. Foxman fired back in kind in a statement: "Denying
the existence of anti-Semitism doesn't make the problem go away. The record
company's response to the song is completely unacceptable. Now we're going
to exercise our First Amendment rights by standing up and calling this
unambiguous anti-Semitism." Though PE and Atomic Pop claim innocence of
charges of anti-Semitism, this dispute isn't the group's first foray into
the ADL doghouse. Ten years ago, PE Minister of Information Professor Griff
was discharged from the group when he told the Washington Post that Jews
were responsible for "the majority of the wickedness that goes on across
the globe." A year later, Chuck D was criticized for the song "Welcome
to the Terrordome," in which he declared "They got me like Jesus" . . .
10:58 pm edt Jewish Group Decries Public Enemy's 'Swindler's Lust':
Anti-Defamation League says track has anti-Semitic overtones; rap band's
label denies it.
The accusation by the Anti-Defamation League, which complained about the song in a letter to the rap band's label, Atomic Pop, is reminiscent of an incident a decade ago in which Public Enemy's Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) was dismissed from the group after telling a Washington Times reporter that he held Jews responsible for the "majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe."
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the lyrics to "Swindler's Lust" are rife with anti-Semitic overtones that blame Jews for the plight of poor blacks. References to banking and millions of people dying are code words, according to Foxman, for such bigoted assertions as the notion that Jews control financial and other industries.
Professor Griff was brought back into the studio for last year's He Got Game, a soundtrack album for the film by the same name, but he plays only a minor role on There's a Poison Goin' On, the album on which the song appears. He has, however, joined Chuck D in a new rock band called Confrontation Camp.
Foxman said the rock band's name, a play on "concentration camp," is another insulting appropriation of Jewish history.
"We don't have the luxury to play games," he said. "The gas chambers at Auschwitz [one of the concentration camps where Jews were systematically murdered during the Holocaust] did not begin with bricks. The gas chambers began with ugly words, hateful words, and they were permitted to evolve into bricks because people found excuses for them."
Neither Public Enemy leader Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour), his manager, Walter Leaphart, nor Atomic Pop president and chief executive officer Al Teller wished to comment on the charges, an Atomic Pop spokesperson said Wednesday (June 23).
But the spokesperson, Liz Morentin, wrote a letter to Foxman Tuesday saying there are no anti-Semitic references in the song.
"We support artistic freedom, and we are aware that art is always subject to interpretation," Morentin, the label's vice president for media relations, said Wednesday, quoting from her letter.
Shortly after the song was first released, as a downloadable single, Chuck D said he was unconcerned that the track would spur allegations of bigotry. "I'm a wordsmith," he said. "I knew I was going to raise some attention. There was no harm intended towards anyone."
He went on to say, however, that African-American musicians have been wronged historically by a variety of people, including Jews and other blacks.
"The truth is the truth," he said. "I think ['Swindler's Lust'] is a hell of a title. People gotta check out the song and tell me whether I'm right or wrong."
The title itself was one of the ADL's complaints. Foxman said Wednesday the band added insult to injury by titling the song with a pun on the celebrated Holocaust novel and Academy Award-winning film "Schindler's List," which tells the story of a German businessman's efforts to save thousands of Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis.
The spare cut, "Swindler's Lust," is a scathing attack on the music industry, with references dating back to the early blues era. Chuck D claims the industry has been run by executives whose greed is detrimental to artists. It includes the couplet, "Laughin' all the way to the bank/ Remember dem own the banks."
"[Allegations of] controlling banks and controlling the industry have been classical canards of anti-Semitism fed ... into the black community," Foxman said.
He also criticized the lyric, "Mo' dollars mo' cents for the Big Six/ Another million led to bled claiming their innocence," saying the proximity of the words "six" and "million" are a thinly veiled reference to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Morentin brushed aside those interpretations. She said the "Big Six" was a shorthand music-industry term for the six corporations that long dominated the record business; the six companies recently were reduced to five (Universal, Sony, Time Warner, BMG and EMI) with the merger of Universal and PolyGram.
"Another million," she said, refers to the Million Man March demonstration of 1995, which brought a massive gathering of black men to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate racial pride. Morentin added that the line about the banks has to do with a record label's role as de facto banker when it lends artists money to make records.
Foxman called the label's response "completely unacceptable."
Ironically, the ADL's criticism comes five months after a spokesperson for the league said the organization had investigated the song and found nothing wrong with it.
The lyrics do not specifically mention Jews, which at the time was an important distinction to Myrna Shinbaum, ADL director of media relations.
"We listened to 'Swindler's Lust' and found no apparent anti-Semitism," Shinbaum said. "ADL believes it is just as important to say what is not anti-Semitism as what is."
But Foxman, who first denounced the track in a June 17 letter to Teller, said the ADL did not have a copy of the lyrics until recently, and the group could not accurately discern them by listening to a downloaded copy of the song.
song was reissued in May as part of Public Enemy's album There's a Poison'
7:15:21pm Rap Music Leading Statesman Detonates Political And Socially
Conscious Hip-Hop Tracks On CHUCK D PRESENTS: LOUDER THAN A BOMB, Dropping
Artists on LOUDER THAN A BOMB range from old-school pioneers Run-D.M.C. ("Proud To Be Black"), and Jungle Brothers ("Black Is Black") to current faves Dr. Dre ("The Day The Niggaz Took Over") and Ice Cube ("A Bird In The Hand"). In addition to the original version of the classic Grand Master Flash track "The Message," LOUDER THAN A BOMB includes a never-before-released version of this hit, "The Message 2000," remixed by Ticc-Tacc and Chuck D. The release will be available in CD format only at a suggested list price of $16.98 as well as through RhinoDirect at 1-800-432-0020.
LOUDER THAN A BOMB is the brain child of Chuck D and his longtime business partner Phil Nelson, President of Quarantine Inc. "Political rap doesn't get the record company support it deserves," states Chuck in the package's liner notes. "Fact is, record companies endorse gangsta rap more than music that speaks to the struggle. Why? Because they're threatened by the possibility of young blacks, and whites, discovering the facts. Notice that these record labels were strangely silent when thug styles were causing hood confusion, leading up to the Tupac Shakur/Notorious B.I.G. murders of the latter part of the decade. But that's most companies. This is Rhino."
THAN A BOMB coexecutive producer Nelson notes, "Chuck and I have thought
about working with Rhino for a long time. They have a level of expertise
that is unparalleled, and this compilation will serve as the marker to
define and redefine the impact hip-hop has had on popular culture." While
Chuck D has taken on the role of supervising the artistic issues involved
in the release of LOUDER THAN A BOMB, Phil will be overseeing all business
and marketing matters regarding the collection.
1:00 am pdt Public Enemy Draws The Ire Of The ADL
In addition to the title, which is a play on Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Foxman says that the song's lyrics make references to the Holocaust and the 6 million Jews who were killed.
In a written response, Atomic Pop countered that the song's lyrics contain "no anti-Semitic references. We support artistic freedom, yet we are aware that art is always subject to interpretation." Atomic Pop representatives could not be reached for additional comment at press time.
It should be noted that Atomic Pop is run by Al Teller, the former head of MCA Records, who is Jewish. The song, which was released by Public Enemy in digital form on its own website prior to the group's signing to Atomic Pop (LAUNCH, 1/11), appears to have more to do with the group's dissatisfaction with the record industry than Jews, unless of course, its target is Jewish record executives.
In the song's spoken-word introduction, Public Enemy frontman Chuck D notes, "A dollar a rhyme, but we barely get a dime." He goes on to rap repeatedly in the track, "If you don't own the master/ The master owns you."
before the track was released by Atomic Pop, P.E. seemed to know that the
song would create controversy. A message posted on the band's website in
January said, "Swindlers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, don't they?
The majority of fans and artists are heaped upon each other, pile swept
in a horrorcost...A lotta folk been had by the execs and legal lust of
the industry...So this is anti-corporatism, and watch the reaction to this
PE: The Hard Copy
The album includes 'Swindler's Lust', the first tract that PE made available as a download and 'Do You Wanna Go Our Way', the internet single released as a taster for the album.
can still download the album for US$8 from Atomic Pop or Public Enemy's
Public Enemy To Perform, The Artist To 'Appear' At Yahoo! Awards: Wyclef
Jean scheduled to rap; SonicNet nominated twice.
The critically acclaimed hip-hop group is scheduled to perform at the July 19 ceremony, which also will feature an appearance by The Artist -- another active proponent of the Internet -- and additional performances by the Fugees' Wyclef Jean and British R&B singer Seal, according to event producer Jesse Jacobs.
The awards, which originated in 1998, are designed to recognize the growth of online music over the past two years, Jacobs said.
"Last year was the first year, and it was a modest event," Jacobs said. "But with development of online music, people have really been supportive of us. I would say it's a testament to the industry."
The ceremony will be held in the storied dance club Studio 54, which is now a theater. There are nine categories. SonicNet is nominated for Best Overall Site along with Music Central, Rocktropolis, Wall of Sound and Yahoo! Music. Addicted To Noise is up for Best News Site along with Billboard, IMusic News Agent, MTV and Spin.com.
Public Enemy's performance will be the rap group's first since headlining MTV's Smokin' Grooves tour last summer, Jacobs said. Walter Leapheart, who manages frontman Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour), said he did not know if the entire lineup -- which includes Flavor Flav (William Drayton), Terminator X (Norman Rogers) and Professor Griff (Richard Griffin) -- would appear together or what songs they would play.
Jacobs said Public Enemy, who released the album There's a Poison Goin' On last month through the online label Atomic Pop, will be recognized for their embrace of the downloadable MP3 format and their decision to market their music digitally.
There's a Poison Goin' On features the protest track "41:19" (RealAudio excerpt), which refers to the controversial shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed black man, by New York police in February.
Three days after the awards show, Chuck D's new rock band, Confrontation Camp, which also features Professor Griff, will debut during the citywide Digital Club Festival.
Jacobs and publicists for The Artist would characterize the former Prince's involvement only as a "special appearance." The Artist distributed his 1998 box set, Crystal Ball, partly through his Love 4 One Another website (www.love4oneanother.com).
In May, Chuck D said he could envision more musicians going the route of Public Enemy and the Artist in the near future.
"There's elements in society that are killing us slowly, whether it's spiritually, mentally or eventually physically," he said. "Maybe technology is a rock that a lot of us can grab onto in order to exist in the next century."
Nominees for the awards were selected by a group including soul singer Isaac Hayes (the voice of Chef on television's "South Park"), producers the Dust Brothers and rock band Ween.
list of categories and nominees is at the awards' official website (www.yilmusicawards.com).
Atomic bomb: PE's MP3 for Y2K
Whether or not Atomic Pop (founded by industry lifer Al Teller, whose résumé includes head-office stints at both CBS and MCA) represents an actual revolution remains to be seen. At the moment, the company looks suspiciously like a plain ol' indie label with a fresh Web site. And its non-PE bench (L7? Blood of Abraham?) looks like sloppy seconds, even though Chuck D's presence could make a pillow fight take on an insurrectionist cast.
But two seconds into Poison, none of that matters. Because from sound one -- a flipped-inside-out acoustic-guitar sample going down the drain -- "Dark Side of the Wall: 2000" is indelibly Public Enemy, all syncopated explosions, pump-shotgun drum loops, whinnying flutes, and sampled white authority figures postulating about the apocalypse as if they didn't know their collective ass is next. Like "Contract on the World Love Jam," the Bomb Squad instrumental that opened 1990's Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam), it's an overture to the hour of chaos ahead.
Throughout PE's career, even when Chuck D's lyrics were misguided or totally full of shit ("She Watch Channel Zero," anyone?) the truth came through in D's delivery, and the wall of sound underneath it. It was music as hectic as a talk-radio screaming match, as lurid as the front page of PE's long-time nemesis the New York Post.
The absence of sounds in that weight class made last year's He Got Game soundtrack more a greatest-miss than a return to form. But the title track was maybe the first PE single you could hum, unless the doo-doo-woppin' bass line from "911 Is a Joke" counts. And it was undeniably poignant to hear D, a sports nut so hardcore he's used the phrase "salary cap" to advocate the redistribution of global wealth, tearing sports itself apart, unraveling the ways the game he'd loved had come to embody the worst qualities of a system he despised.
Substitute hip-hop for sports and the metaphor still holds up -- after PE's break with Russell Simmons and their original record label, Def Jam, Chuck's dismissive "Fuck the game, if it ain't sayin' nothing" scans today as "Fuck Def Jam" and Puffy and everyone else who helped turn hip-hop's soul-on-a-roll into novelty-crossover soap-on-a-rope. But Poison's message isn't as tight as He Got Game's. The disc's thesis is that the turn of the millennium is a chance for black people to renegotiate their deal with America, a time to grab some agency or get shafted like the Furious Five. But Chuck's lost some focus, so he manages only collateral damage and not accuracy on the mike, often just riffing on complementary sounds like the freestyle rhymer he never really was. Protein, gangsta lean, triple team, tetracycline. It works surprisingly well -- there may be nothing holding the lines together on cuts like "Here I Go" or "Last Mass of the Caballeros," but that doesn't stop the words from setting one another off like strings of firecrackers.
it helps that most of the new album approaches the psychedelic density
of the second side of Black Planet, with newcomer Tom E. Hawk's beats buzzing
and skipping in a credible impersonation of system-crashing media overload
or your CD player catching a Y2K fit. So even if there's something crazy
about a Public Enemy disc where the most memorable track is a Flavor Flav
joint -- "41:19," where Flav gets pulled over for driving-while-black,
then asserts, with almost Cagneyish defiance, that the New York cops who
shot Diallo needed more target practice while "10,000 disposable cameras"
get the whole exchange on film -- this is still an album that demands to
be ordered or downloaded or stolen, as long as it's heard. Even amid chaos,
the message comes through: don't stop being pissed off about tomorrow,
it'll soon be here. And if we're not careful, it could be worse than ever.
PE Finds New Medium
The use of the ZIP disk is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, it gives labels and artists a password-protected proprietary format. That benefit, however, could be outweighed by the fact that once you purchase the ZIP, for the considerably high price of $16.98, you cannot copy it-anywhere. And unless Iomega rolls out a ZIP Walkman or ZIP car stereo, fans could be stuck listening to the ZIP from their PC.
So why is Public Enemy distributing "Poison" through ZIP disk? "Why not?" Chuck D asks. "I told people that we are making new rules and not having limitations. In the past, people waited for record company to set the technology. It [the album] could come down by satellite."
For him it's all about options. "Why do people pick different seats when they go to the arena," he says, with a laugh.
Moreover, Chuck is determined to break the record industry hegemony. "It's Chuck against the big five," he declares, referring to Sony, BMG, WEA, Universal and EMI. "Never before have I seen so many executives running, scared to comment [on the digital download] phenomenon."
One record exec not running scared is Atomic Pop president Al Teller. In Teller, Chuck has an ally who's been inside the machine. (Teller was formerly head of MCA Music Entertainment Group and President of CBS Records.) "In music entertainment, we had the same vision as early as 1994," Chuck says.
Teller spelled out that vision Tuesday, in an Atomic Pop press release. "Technology and music continue to merge on a daily basis as more and more consumers listen to music through their computers at work and at home. Iomega shares this sensibility and understands the value of experimenting in ways that will ultimately benefit the consumer by offering a new format for fans to acquire music."
Chuck is also concerned with consumers-black consumers. "Black folks are controlled by black radio, which is white corporate-owned. We're a step behind in technology."
And a crucial part of remedying that, Chuck says, is partnerships that provide a sense of ownership. "We're doing a series of ventures together," Chuck confirms. "I don't go from one plantation to another plantation."
next venture for Chuck will be Confrontation Camp, his answer to Ice-T's
Body Count. The lead singer is Kyle Jason, who Chuck describes as "the
greatest performer ever." So what will they sound like? It's between Rage
[Against The Machine] and The Roots. I'm only a sideman so it's going to
be real interesting."--Adam Matthews
Chuck D Responds To Download Problems
In his "The Pop Life" column, Marilyn Manson biographer Neil Strauss says he spent three days and 12 hours attempting to download the Atomic Pop record. "Unless record companies decide to abandon the Sisyphean task of trying to find a secure delivery system on the Internet," Strauss writes, "the future of music probably still belongs to the future."
Chuck D says dealing with the complications comes with being a pioneer. "Everything is bound to get better," he told LAUNCH. "I didn't come into this field not expecting there to be some glitches. It's the fun part of the innovative process." He says apprehension to using the Internet as a vehicle to receive music will fade, just as vinyl records and cassette tapes have been replaced for the most part by compact discs.
The rapper adds that he will be announcing the formation of his new group, Confrontation Camp, next week. The three-man team includes Chuck D, Professor Griff, and vocalist Kyle Jason, who have created what Chuck describes as a combination of Rage Against The Machine and the Roots. "All this rock-edge rap stuff is all a spinoff and influenced by Public Enemy," says Jason, who's collaborated on P.E. records for years. "I commend all these cats, but they're in trouble when we hit the stage."
Confrontation Camp album, Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,
is expected to be released independently in the fall.
During their long career, PE released seven albums of which rank among the greatest records ever made; sold in the millions; toured worldwide; scored films; collaborated with other artists, from Anthrax to Ice Cube to Stephen Stills; focused public attention on important socioeconomic issues; and frequently incurred the wrath of mainstream society's appointed protectors of the racist, exploitative status quo. While PE was on hiatus in the mid-'90s, Chuck D soldiered on, lecturing at colleges across the nation, releasing an acclaimed solo album, making frequent appearances as commentator on cable and network news programs, writing a best-selling book and starting a hip-hop record label.
reactivated in 1997 for the "He Got Game" soundtrack, followed by a headlining
spot on the '98 "Smokin' Grooves" package tour. Then, in late '98, PE broke
with its longtime label Def Jam, freeing the group to take full advantage
of revolutionary Internet technology like MP3s, digital downloads, online
radio broadcasting and other, as-yet-unannounced PE projects. As Chuck
says, "I don't really give a hell about what technology is the best, just
as long as it makes it easier for the consumer to get to. Streaming beats
the hell outta radio and downloading kicks record stores in the ass, so
that's the bottom line in my book."
16:00 est Chuck D On Possible Public Enemy-Confrontation Camp Tour
For the Festival, the venerable Public Enemy frontman will take the stage with his Camp bandmates, which include Professor Griff and singer Kyle Jason. There's even talk that Flavor Flav may make an appearance.
During a recent interview with MTV News, Chuck D talked about the possibility of a joint tour between Confrontation Camp and Public Enemy -- if they can find the right mix of material.
"Public Enemy touring with Confrontation Camp, [that's] something that we're looking forward to do," Chuck said. "But we got to find a mix, because if I'm in Confrontation Camp, and Confrontation Camp opens for P.E., I can't be [too exhausted]."
"But maybe Public Enemy can come on and have Flavor, and that can be the 'Pow!' so now you know we're all ready for P.E.," he added. "Or [perhaps Confrontation Camp] comes in the middle, I don't know." [RealVideo]
Camp is scheduled to play its Digital Club Festival show at Tramps in New
York City on July 21.
Bring More Noise
Confrontation Camp is Chuck's 'rock' project and will release records on his Slam Jamz label.
Public Enemy's new album 'There's A Poison Going On' has been on sale via
the band's website and Atomic Pop as a CD or as a digital download.
8:07 pm edt Public Enemy Leader To Front Rock Band At Summer Fest:
Chuck D's Confrontation Camp, also featuring PE bandmate Professor Griff,
on schedule for Digital Club Festival.
The Digital Club Festival, scheduled to take place July 20-23 in clubs throughout Manhattan, is the new name for the live music and webcast event formerly known as the Intel Fest. It's also expected to feature performances by rock bands Bush, the Apples in Stereo, Manic Street Preachers and hip-hop artist Prince Paul, according to organizers.
Confrontation Camp, whose lineup features Chuck D, controversial Public Enemy member Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) and singer Kyle Jason backed by rock musicians, will make their live debut July 22.
"Me and Griff like to work together a lot, so we came up with Confrontation Camp," Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) said recently. "We bring three attacking vocals -- singing vocals, rap and poetry. We would like to think there's nothing out there that can compete with this vocal application over driving tracks."
The band has yet to record anything, but plans on issuing a release on Chuck D's label, Slam Jamz, or another independent label.
The New York gig may turn into a de facto Public Enemy performance, with the group's other rapper, Flavor Flav (born William Drayton), likely to appear, according to Chris Newmyer, who is booking the festival. Public Enemy recently released an album, There's a Poison Goin' On, online through Internet label Atomic Pop (www.atomicpop.com). The disc features the single "Do You Wanna Go Our Way?" (RealAudio excerpt) as well as the song "World Tour Sessions" with Jason as guest vocalist.
Other confirmed acts for the Digital Club Festival include former Pixies frontman Frank Black, punk-rockers the Donnas and the Belle and Sebastian side project Looper, organizers said.
British rockers Bush, known for such hits as "Swallowed" (RealAudio excerpt), will play three shows at Irving Plaza during the festival, July 21, 22 and 23.
Unlike other well-known festivals, including South by Southwest and CMJ, the Digital Club Festival is meant to focus on established bands rather than up-and-coming acts, Newmyer said.
The festival also is meant to have a strong digital bent, with shows webcast from the festival's site (www.digitalclubfest.com). Shows from another 10 clubs around the world will be webcast simultaneously, festival co-founder Andrew Rasiej said.
Newmyer, who books the Manhattan club Tramps, said the festival's Internet presence is a major attraction for artists. "It's one of our biggest selling points," he said. "A lot of the bands are really into it."
Although the festival will use only streaming technology, some record labels were initially cool to the event because of their concerns over digital downloading of music, Newmyer said. "They're not quite sure what it means," he said. "You have to explain it to them, but once we get them on board then they're very much into it."
The festival, which is in its fifth year, changed its name because Rasiej and co-founder Michael Dorf plan to use this year's event to launch a new business venture, to be called the Digital Club Network, Rasiej said. The site will showcase live music 24 hours a day, he said.
Last year's Intel Fest featured Blondie, Joey Ramone, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and dozens of other acts. In previous years, the festival has hosted Ben Folds Five and the Offspring.
more acts for this year will be confirmed soon, Newmyer said.
Public Enemy's Poison Gets Zipped
Download Public Enemy's new LP
Last week the veteran hip-hop crew released "There's A Poison Going On" through internet record label Atomic Pop, making them the first high-profile act to make a full album available through online downloading.
But don't trash your CD players yet.
Internet users visiting atomicpop.com have the option of downloading the entire recording for $8 U.S., or ordering a traditional hard-copy of the disc for $10.
Yesterday, Atomic Pop announced that a zip-disc version of "There's A Poison Going On", which can be purchased through retail outlets and played through a computer, will also be made available for about $17. The company began taking on-line orders for the disc May 3 and shipping it May 19. The CD hits in stores July 13.
The official Atomic Pop line is that they're "pleased" with the sales so far, but they're unwilling to disclose any actual figures right now.
Meanwhile, according to Atomic Pop founder, president and CEO Al Teller, it'll be a while before download technology overtakes the traditional format.
"The physical CD has been available for sale for a number of weeks prior to the download being available," Teller said Tuesday.
"We're venturing into new territory with the download, certainly, but we're very encouraged by the initial response we've had."
Teller says the downloads have worked out "amazingly well" so far. Still, the ease of the depends greatly on the speed of the hardware listener have at home. At 50 megs, There's A Poison Goin' On is a dense file that can take several hours to download with a slow modem.
"We downloaded here at the office on a T-1 line and it took about three-and-a-half minutes," Teller says. "I also tried it on a 56K modem and it took four hours. But you can just go about your business and it will quietly download it for you."
But there are bigger issues at stake than consumer patience.
In selling Public Enemy's album online before going through the usual channels, Atomic Pop has managed to turn earlier on-line rumblings into a major shake-up in the record industry.
Since the mid-'90s, Teller and Public Enemy leader Chuck D have been major proponents of internet technology as a means to restructure the way a recording artist can sell their music. Public Enemy's deal with Atomic Pop allows the group to own their own master tapes.
Cutting out record label middle-men for greater access to sales offers an irresistible prosepct for artists.
Says Teller: "I'm totally convinced the impact of the internet and the collatoral technology that's going with it will be as profound as the original invention of sound-recording. It's going to re-invent the music business from top to bottom.
"And not just relationships between artists and record companies: Everything in between will be redefined."
Teller's own experience working in traditional entertainment media has given him some extra insight. With a resume that stretches back 30 years and includes posts as CEO of the MCA Music Group, President of CBS Records, and CEO of Alliance Entertainment, he has his ear pressed firmly to the ground.
"How other companies going to deal with digital downloading is very much at the top of the agenda for these companies," he says. "They have a complex challenge to meet because they have to navigate from the traditional paridigm that's been in place for such a long time.
starting with a blank sheet of paper. We're not bound by any of the previous
rules. We're just going there."
Public Enemy's New Album to Be Offered on Zip Disk
"Technology beats technology every time and Poison's the whooping stick in this matter," said Chuck D in statement released by Public Enemy's Web savvy new label, Atomic Pop. "Regardless of what critics, cynics and the industry say about this, the fact that the album is on a Zip disk is mind-boggling."
According to Atomic Pop founder Al Teller, the Poison Zips, which will contain the complete fourteen-song album and the video for the lead single, "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???," will be available for $16.98 at the label's Web site beginning next week. The album can also be ordered as an MP3 or A2B digital download for $8 or as a conventional CD for $10. The CDs will hit brick and mortar stores July 13. Teller says the label is exploring the possibilities of also releasing the Zips to retail, perhaps even in computer stores.
Teller says the album and video only take up about eighty-five percent of the Zip disks, leaving customers fifteen free megs to store additional files. If you're thinking about running off bootlegged copies, though, forget it. Teller says the music will be encrypted onto the disks and playable only in conjunction with a Liquid Audio player, so attempts to duplicate the album won't be easy.
According to Teller, Chuck D was behind the Zip initiative from the get-go. "He's been very vocal about wanting to utilize the technologies and service Public Enemy's music as aggressively as could be done, so we were all on the same page when we were kicking around ideas, and this one seemed to strike a responsive cord in all of us as a really interesting thing to try," he said. "It emphasizes the increasingly important role that computers and Internet technology is playing in the future shaping of the music business."
sound quality? "Excellent," assures the label chief, comparing it to disc
and digital options. "You could sit there and do A to B to C tests if you
4 pm pdt Public Enemy Lets It Zip
"Public Enemy started off the '90s with an album that was recognized as one of the most influential hip-hop albums, Fear Of A Black Planet. Why not close out the decade with an event just as significant?" Public Enemy's Chuck D said in a statement. "Technology beats technology every time, and Poison's the whooping stick in this matter. Regardless of what critics, cynics, and the industry say about this, the fact that the album is on a Zip disk is mind-boggling."
utilizing Iomega Record/ Play technology and Liquid Audio, the songs on
the Zip disk version of the album will not be able to be uploaded to the
Internet or copied. However, the traditional CD version of the album does
not have any such safeguards. As the savvy MP3 user knows, you can record
a track as an MP3 file on your computer using a number of different "CD
rippers" that are readily available for download, including Real Networks'