Billboard Bits: Papa Roach, West Memphis 3, Yo La Tengo

Stories on Papa Roach/Rock the Rockies unsigned band search, West Memphis Three benefit auction, and Yo La Tengo's Hanukkah concerts.

Papa RoachPapa Roach is looking for a new opening act, and is teaming with SoBe Beverages, Hard Rock Cafe, and Steamboat Ski Resort to try to find one via a nationwide amateur band search. The hard rock act is set to play with Midtown at the Rock the Rockies concert Jan. 25 in Steamboat, Colo. The concert will be taped for a February airing on MuchMusic.

Interested bands can enter the competition by submitting a CD, bio, and band photo by Monday (Nov. 4) to Hard Rock Cafe locations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Memphis, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., or at Hard Rock's official Web site. Regional competitions will be held at the participating Hard Rock locations, with the grand-prize winner eventually selected by a panel of judges that will include members of Papa Roach and Midtown, and representatives of DreamWorks, Roadrunner, and Lava Records.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

Henry RollinsThe Henry Rollins-organized West Memphis Three benefit album project has taken on a new twist. A guitar used in the recording of the album -- a collection of Black Flag songs performed by the Rollins Band with a diverse cast of guest lead singers -- is being sold through Web auction site eBay, complete with autographs from a number of the album's creators.

The guitar, a Dan Armstrong Lucite model akin to the one used by Black Flag songwriter/guitarist Greg Ginn, was donated to the project by Steve Dachroeden of St. Louis Music. Among the artists who added their autographs to the axe are Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age, Rollins, Exene Cervenka of X, Black Flag's Kira Roessler, Keith Morris, and Chuck Dukowski, Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, and Tim Armstrong and Lars Fredriksen of Rancid.

Like the album, proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the "West Memphis Three," a trio of Tennessee youths incarcerated for a 1993 triple murder who continue to proclaim their innocence and have built a sizeable following of people who believe they are wrongly imprisoned. At deadline, the highest bid on the auction was $4,050; bidding closes Nov. 4.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

Yo La TengoNew Jersey-based noise-rock trio Yo La Tengo has set an eight-night Hanukkah stand at Hoboken, N.J.'s Maxwell's nightclub, reprising a similar stint of last year. Again, each night will feature a different opening act (last year's run included performances by Lambchop, Antietam, and Annie Hayden), as well as an opening comic (Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, and Penn Jillette all performed in 2001). Proceeds from each show will benefit a different charity.

The group will play each night of Hanukkah (Nov. 29-Dec. 6). Yo La Tengo also plans to have special guests each night and play widely varied sets. "We calculate that we played close to 900 different songs over the course of [last year's] gigs," exclaims a post on the group's official Web site. Also given away to ticketholders at the shows will be a new three-song Christmas EP ("That's right, Christmas. Where are the good Hanukkah songs?" says the post).

The group is currently in Nashville recording its 10th album with producer Roger Moutenot. An EP titled "Nuclear War" is due out Nov. 19 on Matador Records.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.


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