Gary "Elvis" Schepers, standing behind Pate bassist Mike Kelly (left) and guitarist Jon Pratt (right), during a radio interview in Manitoba, Canada (1987).
GARY "ELVIS" SCHEPERS: I don't want to unduly alarm anyone, but the tuba player for The Service and Devil In A Woodpile -- not to mention one of Chicago's best-known live rock soundmen -- is rumored to have been hospitalized recently. It sounded serious, though it's not something life-threatening. Nor did it sound like anything embarassing or titilating -- I'm just reluctant to repeat rumors until I have better confirmation (except about major celebs, natch). I'm working on it and will pass along any news I hear on it. Of course, if you know about it, you should drop me a line. In the meantime, did you know that Trouser Press founder Ira Robbins thought The Service's cover of Pate's "If You Will, I Will" resembled The Replacements?
I'M STILL GETTING OVER Christmas at Carmen and Dave's, but rest assured I have links for you this Boxing Day...
HAPPY HANUKKAH with THE LEE VEES: Get into the Festival of Lights with this combo pairing a member of Guster and from the Zambonis. You can stream four from MySpace or download a freebie from iTunes. You can also stream or download two gigs in multiple formats from the Internet Archive.
DOWNLOAD PRICING is under investigation by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer.
SEASON OF THE LIST: Stereogum posted its Readers' Top 20 poll in two parts. DJ Monster Mo at BTAE posts his 25 Favorite LPs. There's Top Ten from The Sacramento Bee . Beta (music) has lists for its Top 50 albums and the ten best singles. Wiredset has Top 25 lists for albums and singles. There are staff picks at LAist. There's a Top 15 list at Chartattack. Janie Stevenson posts her best music picks at the Toronto Sun. MusicOMH also lists for both albums and singles. In The New York Times, Jon Pareles picks his Top Ten, which has the same number one as the list from Entertainment Weekly. And I may have to check out some of the Top Ten Roots Albums listed by the Philadelphia City Paper.
SEAASON OF THE LIST (JAZZ SECTION): I rarely post jazz stuff, but there's a "best of" posted at I Love Music. The Village Voice has lists from Francis Davis and Nate Chinen. The Philadelphia City Paper has a jazz list, as does Fred Kaplan at Slate.
RHETT MILLER: The Old 97s frontman talks to Chart Attack about the Vaugniston movie, his upcoming solo album and politics.
YEAR IN REVIEW: Londn's Guardian looks at 2005 as the year of a grassroots revolution in the record industry.
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS have a "Feb. 14," an advance track from A Blessing and a Curse, available as a free download. Frontman Patterson Hood has four live shows posted in multiple formats at the Internet Archive.
WHAT WOULD D. BOON DO? Political cartoonist David Rees -- creator of Get Your War on, among others -- writes that he owes the late Minuteman frontman his livelihood.
THE ALARM frontman Mike Peters has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer talks to the BBC about his love for ex-girlfriend Kate Moss and his ongoing battle with drugs.
STING: Send your aunt a Christmas card next year, willya?
DANCING LEADS TO SEX: I think Pate fans believed this already, but now there's a study backing it up. And now that a number of you have kids yourselves, be careful about the dance out at the barn.
JESSICA ALBA: Heading into the coldest part of the year, I thought I might help everyone battle Seasonal Affective Disorder with some warm-weather screen caps from the apparently awful Into The Blue. Consider it today's public service link.
KING KONG vs. ASLAN: Narnia expanded into more theaters over the holidays, which -- along with a shorter running time -- could knock the mighty Kong from atop the weekend box office (though Kong appears to win the per screen average.) things magazine has a cool, link-rich piece on Kong, including a discussion of "how the climactic dog fight adopted the visual language of Italian futurism."
ANDY SAMBERG: His sendup of gangster rap videos, "Lazy Sunday," broke up the audience at NBC's Saturday Night Live and became an instant Internet hit. If you haven't seen the Narnia rap, try the SNL page or Who Is The Monkey. It's also a free download at iTunes.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Who better to ask about gay cowboys than Randy Jones, the stetson-wearing, lasso-throwing gay cowboy from the Village People and an adviser on the film.
DAVID DUCHOVNY and his wife TEA LEONI have dreamed up a plan to turn their six-year-old daughter Madelaine West off Santa Claus by framing him for giving her a set of bad gifts. The truth is out there, Maddie!
MIKE MYERS and his wife, Robin Ruzan, have called it quits after 12 years.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON has asked for a part in Woody Allen's next film for Christmas. I'll bet that would make Soon-Yi Claus very un-jolly.
GWYNETH PALTROW views breast enhancement following a pregnancy as "reconstructive surgery." She also says her husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, reminded her of her late father. No "daddy issues" there.
KIRSTEN DUNST should learn that a hangover is not the same as a handicap.
NICOLE RICHIE: You know you're on the Skeletor diet when the French Hotel starts worrying about you.
TEN GREAT HOLLYWOOD ORGASMS: A list at YesButNoYes puts Meg Ryan in second place.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is hopeless at cooking. She may want to consider trying a restaurant.
IRAQ: An Iraqi court has disqualified prominent Sunni candidates because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Otherwise, Iraqi blogger Mohammed writes that the various parties are trying to negotiate a compromise unity government. Frans van Anraat was found guilty of war crimes by a court in The Hague and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war. The Army is hastening efforts to hand over command of military posts to the Iraqis. In the L.A. Times, Joshua Muravchik writes that Pres. Bush's strategy of promoting freedom and democracy, including by means of war in Iraq, deserevs some of the credit for a possibly tectonic shift toward liberty across the Muslim world, as reflected in a new report from Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Wilkie.
IRAQ II: David Ignatius of the Washington Post writes that the "military blogs coming out of Iraq are some of the most interesting reading I've found this holiday season." In the L.A. Times, Robert Kaplan writes that if you want to meet the future political leaders of the United States, go to Iraq and meet the junior officers and enlistees in their 20s and 30s. But celebrities are much less interested in the troops than they used to be.
TERROR NETWORK IN EUROPE: A growing number of terrorism investigations in Britain, Germany, Bosnia, Denmark, Spain and France are linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "Even before the invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi had a network in Europe that provided funds and recruits," a British source said. "The same pipeline will sooner or later pump the other way, from Iraq to Europe."
THE CULT OF THE iPod has seized control of Vice-President Dick Cheney. Dave Winer has pod predictions for 2006.
SURVEILLANCE: US News & World Report has a story on a (formerly) top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities. Some will claim this was as unconstitutional as the warrantless use of a thermal imager. Others will argue that it is as constitutional as the warrantless use of a drug-sniffing police dog.
SURVEILLANCE II: The New York Times reports that the NSA has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the U.S. as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after 9/11. Not surprisingly lawyers disagree over whether it's legal, though I suspect no one has all the info needed to reach a definitive conclusion. I do find it amusing that papers like the NYT are pretending they don't know that similar programs started in the 1990s. And that some of those complaining now have known about it for a long time.
AL QAEDA'S top operational commander was solely focused on killing President Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharaf prior to his capture last spring. Al Qaeda's No. 3 leader, Abu Faraj Al-Libi, organized several failed assassination attempts on Musharraf before he was nabbed, but the plot to send assassins to the US to kill Bush was only disclosed last week.
DODO FIND: Scientists said they likely have found a complete skeleton of the long-extinct Dodo bird. The last known stuffed bird was destroyed in a 1755 fire at a museum in Oxford, England, leaving only partial skeletons and drawings of the bird.
CATS may be guided by the geomagnetic pattern on the Earth's surface. At least that's what it said in Pravda, which means truth in Russian.
CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Cryptomundo recaps the Top Cryptozoology Stories of 2005, many of which were noted here at the time.
BIGFOOT: The existence of the Sasquatch will be studied in Malaysia.