Billboard Bits: Gang Of Four, Searchers/Curtis, Billboard PostPlay

News on Gang Of Four, Searchers/Curtis & More

GangPioneering post-punk act Gang Of Four will follow its previously announced May 1 appearance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival with a three-week North American tour. The group will play multiple nights in San Francisco, Chicago and New York before wrapping the run May 21 in Philadelphia.

The quartet of Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar and vocals), Dave Allen (bass) and Hugo Burnham (drums) had not worked together since 1981 before it reunited for a handful of U.K. shows in January.

Gang Of Four will release a double-disc album around the time of the North American dates. Although a spokesperson could not confirm the contents, Gill recently told BBC radio that one disc would feature new recordings of old songs, while the second would house remixes by such avowed Gang Of Four fans as Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and the Futureheads.

Here are Gang Of Four's tour dates:

May 1: Indio, Calif. (Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival)
May 2-3: San Francisco (Fillmore)
May 5: Portland, Ore. (Roseland)
May 6: Seattle (Showbox)
May 7: Vancouver (Commodore Ballroom)
May 10: Minneapolis (Quest)
May 11-12: Chicago (Metro)
May 14: Toronto (Phoenix)
May 16: Boston (Avalon)
May 17-18: New York (Irving Plaza)
May 20: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
May 21: Philadelphia (TLA)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

ChrisChris Curtis, the original drummer and backing vocalist for influential 1960s Merseybeat combo the Searchers, died Monday (Feb. 28) in Liverpool, England, after a long illness. He was 63.

Three years after their formation in 1960, the Searchers scored a U.K. No. 1 with "Sweets for My Sweet" (Pye), one of a string of cover songs Curtis was instrumental in selecting. Several U.K. hits followed, including the 1964 chart-toppers "Needles and Pins" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away," leading some tastemakers to suggest the band's fame matched that of local stars the Beatles.

Curtis, whose real name was Christopher Crummey, was the band's most high-profile, extroverted member onstage. He left the Searchers in 1966 after an Australian tour and was replaced by Johnny Blunt.

Following his departure, Curtis worked as a songwriter and producer with '60s hitmakers Paul & Barry Ryan. He also recorded with such acts as the Flowerpot Men and Roundabout; he was lead vocalist in the latter band, which included future members of Deep Purple. More recently, Curtis worked with the Merseycats charity, which organizes shows with original Merseybeat-era bands to raise funds for needy children.

-- Lars Brandle, London

Billboard has entered the blogosphere with the launch of Billboard Post Play, a Web log offering digital music news, trendspotting and analysis. Billboard Post Play is accessible through It is written and maintained by Rafat Ali, editor of the popular and influential blog

The site aggregates links to stories from across the Web pertaining to digital music along with commentary and analysis by Ali and his team of industry experts. Additional site content will be user-generated. Readers will be able to comment on and update stories and provide links to relevant articles. As a convenient research feature, the archives will be collected by subject and category as well as by calendar date.

The site launched today (March 2) with Ali posting live from the fifth annual Digital Music Forum in New York, which was hosted by Digital Media Wire and sponsored by Billboard.