Manchester Explosion

A Closer Look At Music-Related Television This Week

Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV during the week of Aug. 11-17, 2003.

Although back-to-school is looming on the horizon, there's still some summer sun and fun left. And, musically speaking, things are pretty hot on television, too.

Guys have some pretty base needs and the folks behind Spike TV are seeking to satisfy those with a new slate of programming. Take for example Monday night's "Party With Spike World Premiere Special, filmed at the Playboy mansion prior to the cable network's preposterous legal challenge over its name change from film director Spike Lee (Spike TV was previously TNN, or the National Network, which was previously TNN, or the Nashville Network).

The special will show randy Spike viewers footage from a blowout party that drew the likes of Busta Rhymes, Carmen Electra, Ice-T, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and Nick Lachey among many others.

Also at the bash was legendary DJ Funkmaster Flex. He'll be hosting a new series on the network dealing with another "Ride With Funkmaster Flex" will delve into car culture on a weekly basis. Saturday's premiere episode will feature visits with Eminem and Lil' Kim, see Flex crushing cars in a monster truck, customizes a car owned by Washington Redskins' receiver Laveranues Coles and checking out the Lowrider Car show.

Wednesday on the WB, "Pepsi Smash" has another solid live music lineup in store. Tune in for performances by Ben Harper, Jewel, Cold, Nappy Roots and Rooney. (Also look for Nappy Roots on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Monday.)

The second part of the Sundance channel's "Keeping Time: New Music From America's Roots: Acoustic Innovators" will air Thursday. This week only one act is featured: bluegrass group Nickel Creek. The trio utilizes a lineup of guitar, mandolin and violin, and has been winning fans with its contemporary approach to the roots form.

This week's ABC vs. NBC morning show live music battle pitts classic rock against modern country. In NBC's "Today" corner, it's the country duo Brooks & Dunn. And both members of the formidable pair may be needed to take on their hefty opponent, as in ABC's "Good Morning America" corner you'll find Meat Loaf.

Do the Sex Pistols still have the fire that made them the iconic spearhead of the punk scene in 1977? Check 'em out on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Friday night (guest co-host Super Dave Osborne will undoubtedly add something to the surreal scene).

There's plenty of music star power on the late night scene -- Linkin Park on Kimmel on Monday, Wynonna on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Wednesday and Brad Paisley on CBS' "The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn" on Thursday -- but you've gotta pick a favorite. And I have.

This week's wee hours pick of the week is (drum roll, please): The Polyphonic Spree Friday night on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." Something close to 30-members strong, the robed Hooray For Everything choir will blow your mind, or at least confuse you. I promise.

Is Polyphonic Spree more or less interesting than disgruntled former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung with a symphony orchestra and 30 member children's choir? That's for you to decide, and you can if you watch him present the spectacle on PBS' "Soundstage" on Thursday (check local listings).

Reruns? They've got their purpose in this world. You may have missed something you wanted to see. You may have enjoyed something so much that you didn?t' tape or Tivo that you'll be excited as hell when a network plays that show again. This week's rerun pick is the "Special Edna" episode of "The Simpsons" Sunday on Fox. Two words will make it special: Little Richard. If you miss regularly seeing the flamboyant veteran's turn in those AT&T Wireless commercials as much as I do, don't miss it.