The dark forces behind those cutesy, cuddly, blossoming twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen apparently aren't satisfied with their massive empire of TV shows, magazines, videos, posters, calendars, books and fashion accessories. Now they've gone and plundered the local music scene: specifically, two songs by Fullerton band Mirainga. "Lord Apollo" and "Alright Already" appear on the soundtrack to the Olsen girls' most recent straight-to-video epic, Holiday in the Sun (perhaps an homage to the Sex Pistols' thrash-and-burn song "Holidays in the Sun," which aptly blasted mindless consumerism. Or maybe not). Mirainga found out about their inclusion on this album when the Weekly showed them the soundtrack CD at their recent Tiki Bar gig. Trauma Records, their former label, not only didn't inform Mirainga about the soundtrack, but, as of this writing, the band has yet to be paid for their inclusion as well. Mirainga's singer, Craig Poturalski, certainly wasn't fazed by the news, citing it as further evidence of the music industry's malicious economic juju. "I think Trauma is trying to make their fucking money back," Poturalski says.
Photo by Jack Gould
Trauma dropped Mirainga from their roster in early 2000 after spending more than $200,000 producing Nueva, the band's never-released follow-up to their self-titled 1995 debut. Since then, the band has slipped into some serious debt, which Poturalski says is the main reason for not being able to contact a team of lawyers and managers to protect Mirainga from the grasping hands of scavenging soundtrack compilers. Trauma's explanation for their actions has been vague at best. "We elected to put them on the soundtrack. We still have not contacted them or their manager," Trauma representative Kim Estlund wrote in an e-mail to the Weekly. This isn't the first time Mirainga's music has been pinched for soundtracks. Trauma put Mirainga's song "Reno's Rectifier" on the cheerleaders-gone-bad flick Sugar and Spice—also without paying them, according to Poturalski. However, Mirainga's soundtrack experiences haven't all been of the raping-and-pillaging variety. MCA actually compensated the band when their song "Burnin' Rubber" appeared on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Poturalski remembers getting more than $1,000 for its usage, a sum that mixed a signing bonus and the initial royalties (they still occasionally receive small royalty checks). Meanwhile, Mirainga has had trouble shopping for a new label, partially because most labels think they're still signed to Trauma and partially because few music executives have ever understood Mirainga's mixture of punk and Latin music. "Every label head tries to change us," Poturalski says. "They always say stuff like, 'Why don't you use heavier guitars?' We're not going to do that. That isn't us." (Andrew Asch)
Photo by Jeanne Rice
If everything happens like it's supposed to happen—and it will happen, assures Live magazine publisher Martin Brown—then the first-ever Orange County Music Awards will take place March 30 at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. (Brown is co-producing the show with Allison Badger, producer of KOCE-TV's debuting-in-January local-music program Sound Affects.) It's just that for the time being, there are lots of organizational and disinformation headaches Brown has to iron out, one of which is assuring local bands and musicians that his awards ceremony has nothing—nothing, he says—to do with the Los Angeles Music Awards or that event's main producers, Al Bowman and Brent Harvey. Some context is in order here: the Los Angeles Music Awards (LAMA) are a laughably amateurish affair, infamous for things like giving out a humanitarian award to Jackson Browne while misspelling his name in the program and handing out a lifetime-achievement award to Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, who has nothing to do with Los Angeles or, some persnickety critics would argue, music—at least the good, decent, listenable, non-corporate-rock kind. Far more damning, though, is that the LAMAs ask bands to pony up money if they want to be nominated for an award—under the guise of "promotional services." Granted, Brown's awards show includes an element of the same whoever-has-the-most-money-gets-a-nomination approach that has infected the LAMAs—for instance, the presence of donor tables at the ceremony that will go for as much as $1,500 a pop. Bands who want to perform two-song sets at the awards show will have to round up the sponsors themselves (if organizers really want a band to play, Brown adds, they will try to match that band with a donor), which Brown says will net them an automatic nomination, no matter whether they're terribly good or simply terrible (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a yet-to-be-named charity, says Brown). That could cause some consternation among the 20-member nominating panel, which will be made up of representatives from OC print, radio and television media; club bookers; promoters and others. Though the plan was to leave voting to the general public, Brown has since seen how this can easily be corrupted and says the same nominating panel will ultimately select the winners of each category. "This isn't going to be a scam where bands will basically be buying their award," Brown insists. "We're trying to promote Orange County as a viable music community, and this awards show has to have integrity—there's no point in doing it otherwise. We have to overcome any skepticism, but the first of anything is always a tough sell." (Brown hasn't had trouble selling his show to sponsors like Borders Books and OC's COOL Radio, which on Jan. 4 will begin broadcasting a live one-hour local-music program every Friday night at 11 p.m., hosted by Paul Secrest.) Brown also will try to land local celebrity presenters for the event—think Linda Jemison—and nab an appropriate headlining band to top off the night (Save Ferris would be a dream, Brown says; bigger bands like Lit and the Offspring, however, were asking for money that was "way out of our price range"). In any event, the ultimate goal is to shine a light on the diversity of the OC music scene, and the awards and award-show performers will reflect this, Brown says. The categories are Best Male Solo Performer, Best Female Solo Performer, Best Pop/Rock Band, Best Blues/Roots Band, Best Country Band, Best Reggae/World Band, Best Punk/Emo/Surf Band, Best Metal/Rapcore/Industrial Band, Best Hip-Hop/Rap Band, Best CD (All Genres), Best Song (All Genres), Best Live Performer (All Genres) and Best Out-of-County Act (All Genres). The deadline for bands and musicians to submit entry packets (which should include a CD, a bio and a photo, plus a $25 entry fee—"A small amount to pay to get your CD listened to by pretty much everyone in OC music who matters," Brown points out) is Feb. 28, and the address to send them to is 12534 Valley View St., Ste. 114, Garden Grove, CA 92845. (Rich Kane)
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Let's say I publish a music magazine. Say I meet a big, famous rock star through my dealings with the music magazine and develop a personal and professional friendship with said big, famous rock star that lasts more than 30 years. Say this big, famous rock star puts out a new album that could use a little publicity, so I decide to write a slobbering, five-star review of my big, famous rock-star pal's new album, well aware that five-star album reviews in my mag are extremely rare and that the publication of any five-star review will become news itself, helping to generate much-coveted buzz for my friend's album and making it appear that said album is better than it actually is. And say that in this review, I never disclose the fact that I've been long-term buddies with this big, famous rock star, so it also appears that the review is the opinion of a fair, unbiased rock critic. That's pretty much what happened when Rolling Stone recently ran a review of Mick Jagger's new solo album, Goddess in the Doorway, penned by none other than the magazine's Napoleonic publisher, Jann S. Wenner. Jagger and Wenner have been close for more than three decades and were even brief business partners in a failed attempt at a British version of the magazine in the late '60s. So protective of Jagger is Wenner, according to Robert Draper's 1990 book Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History, that a Rolling Stone critic's review of Jagger's 1987 solo album, Primitive Cool, was "rejected for its mild criticisms, then reassigned to a different critic and heavily edited by Jann." Wenner's Goddess in the Doorway review is not so much a review as a fawning, breathless press release: "In terms of consistency, craftsmanship and musical experimentation," Wenner writes, "Goddess in the Doorway surpasses all his solo work and any Rolling Stones album since Some Girls. . . .Masterful use of tension and restraint is part of what makes Goddess in the Doorway so beguiling. . . . It is a clear-eyed and inspired Mick Jagger who crafted Goddess in the Doorway, an insuperably strong record that in time may well reveal itself to be a classic. World, meet Mick Jagger, solo artist." Gag.In the interest of cutting-edge investigative journalism, LowBallAssChatter sat through an entire spin of the Jagger album. Our review: "Half a star: like almost every note Jagger has crooned since Goat's Head Soup, it's a dull, unlistenable turd. And we're not being mean just because Keith Richards is our father, either." (RK)