There’s nothing like a big political rally to get the creative juices flowing for a politically progressive rocker. That’s just what happened after guitarist, singer and songwriter Tom Morello took part in demonstrations at the state capitol in Madison, Wis., recently to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip the state’s public workers of the ability to engage in collective bargaining.
The results can be heard imminently in Morello’s new eight-song EP, “Union Town,” a collection that the Rage Against the Machine / Audioslave / Nightwatchman musician summarizes as “fighting songs.”
The title tune will be available Thursday as a free download at SaveWorkers.org. The album will be released in digital form on May 17 and on CD and vinyl on July 19 under Morello’s new deal with New West Records. Proceeds from sale of the album will go to the America Votes Labor Unity Fund.
“I was so inspired by what I saw in Madison,” Morello said in an interview. “It seems very much like we’re at an important crossroad and that this movement was not just about stopping some bad legislation, but possibly harnessing the energy of 100,000 to 150,000 people who were in the streets and want to put some teeth back in the labor movement in the U.S.”
His characters’ adventures go on
Crime novelist Robert B. Parker is gone, but his most popular series will continue.
Parker’s estate and publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons announced Wednesday that new Spenser and Jesse Stone novels will be written. Michael Brandman, a longtime friend of Parker’s, will handle the Jesse Stone books. Ace Atkins will take on private eye Spenser.
Parker died last year at age 77. “Sixkill,” a Spenser novel completed before his death, comes out next month.
‘Baby, It’s You!’ as the defendant
Producers of the Broadway musical “Baby, It’s You!” were slapped with a lawsuit Wednesday only hours before opening night by several musicians, including Dionne Warwick and three of the four original members of the Shirelles, claiming their names and likenesses were used without permission.
The complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court alleges the producers of the musical did not get permission from Warwick, Chuck Jackson or Beverly Lee, Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris Jackson of the Shirelles to portray them on stage. It seeks unspecified damages.
Paul McGuire, a representative for the show’s producers — Warner Bros. Theater Ventures Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Broadway Baby — said they had not received the lawsuit and would not comment.
Star settles with Katie Holmes
Katie Holmes has settled her lawsuit with the publishers of Star magazine over a cover story that insinuated she was a drug addict.
The magazine published an apology to the actress on its May 9 cover and inside, saying it “did not intend to suggest that Ms. Holmes was a drug addict or was undergoing treatment for drug addiction.”
It apologized “for any misperception” and said it would be making “a substantial donation” to charity — identified by Holmes’ publicist as Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization that brings dance to underprivileged children.
J. Lo show would seek Latin talent
Jennifer Lopez is teaming up with “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller for a new TV show — and she’s bringing husband Marc Anthony into the fold.
The three announced Wednesday that they are creating “Q’Viva! The Chosen.” The show would feature the couple as they travel through 21 countries to find the best performers in Latin music, dance and other arts with the goal of creating a live extravaganza.
A statement said more than one network will be involved, but they have yet to be announced.
David Benoit adds radio hours
Jazz pianist and composer David Benoit, who recently began hosting an afternoon show at classical radio station KMZT-AM (1260), likes the job so much that he’s going to take over the morning shift on jazz outlet KKJZ-FM (88.1).
Beginning Monday, Benoit will host the 6-10 a.m. weekday program at KKJZ, better known to listeners as K-Jazz. He’ll continue his 2-5 p.m. gig at KMZT. Both stations are operated by Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters.
He won’t be KKJZ’s only musician-DJ. Earlier this month, the station introduced a two-hour weekend program hosted by saxophonist Kenny G.