News on Ramones, Elliott Smith, Royksopp
"We're a Happy Family -- A Tribute to the Ramones" will finally see release Feb. 11 via DV8/Columbia. As previously reported, the oft-delayed set will feature the New York punk band's songs covered by the likes of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Metallica, U2, Kiss, Rancid, Garbage, the Pretenders, and Tom Waits, among others.
Produced by Rob Zombie with consultation from Johnny Ramone, the set's initial pressing will sport deluxe, limited-edition packaging designed by Zombie. A 28-page booklet will feature rare photos and an appreciation of the Ramones written by novelist Stephen King (the Ramones recorded the title track for the soundtrack of the 1989 film version of his book "Pet Sematary").
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the album will benefit the New York chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Lymphoma claimed the life of singer Joey Ramone in April 2001. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone died in June 2002 of a morphine overdose.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Singer/songwriter Elliott Smith returns to live work this month with a pair of just-announced New York shows on Jan. 24-25 at the Bowery Ballroom, to be followed Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 with performances at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.
Smith hasn't released a new album since 2000's DreamWorks set "Figure 8." But during an unbilled performance at a benefit concert for "Clean Needles Now" on Sunday at L.A.'s Spaceland, Smith spoke of plans to release a double album later this year. According to the noted fan site Sweet Adeline, the artist said he intends to mask the second disc as a bonus to "one regular CD" to keep the retail price down. A DreamWorks spokesperson could not confirm any details about the album.
"Figure 8" debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart and has sold 143,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
-- John D. Luerssen, N.Y.
Norwegian electronica duo Royksopp will kick off its maiden U.S. tour March 5 in Los Angeles and play seven dates through March 17 in New York. The group is touring in support of its acclaimed Wall of Sound/Astralwerks debut, "Melody A.M.," which peaked at No. 18 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart. In December, the single "Poor Leno" reached No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play tally.
The "Poor Leno" video can be viewed on the group's official Web site. An earlier clip for "Melody A.M." track "Remind Me" won best video in November at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards. Earlier this week, Royksopp was nominated for best international group at the 2003 Brit Awards, to be handed out Feb. 20 in London.
Here are Royksopp's tour dates:
March 5: Los Angeles (Henry Fonda Theatre)
March 6: San Francisco (Bimbo's 365)
March 7: Portland, Ore. (B Complex)
March 8: Seattle (Chop Suey)
March 12: Minneapolis (Ascot Room/Quest)
March 13: Chicago (Metro)
March 17: New York (Irving Plaza)
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.