Billboard Bits: VMA, Doobie Awards, Folkways, Skyhooks

Stories on a free Fatboy Slim, Crystal Method, MJ Cole, and Dub Pistols concert, the Doobie Awards, Smithsonian Folkways Cuban releases, and Graeme "Shirley" Strachan.

Fatboy SlimFatboy Slim, Crystal Method, MJ Cole, and the Dub Pistols will play a free, all-ages concert Tuesday (Sept. 4) at Pier 54 on Manhattan's lower west side. The show comes two nights prior to the MTV Video Music Awards, to be held at the Manhattan Opera House and broadcast live on the cable network.

Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" video is up for nine nominations. Before the awards show, the DJ will spin tonight in Washington, D.C., tomorrow in Atlanta, and Saturday in Miami.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Afroman, Nothingface, and Insolence are among the performers slated for the second annual High Times Doobie Awards, set for Sept. 12 in New York. Hosted by Matt Besser of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, the show will be one of the final events staged at the city's legendary Wetlands Preserve, which, as previously reported , will close its doors for good three days later. Awards will be handed out in a dozen categories, including pot song, album, and band of the year, as well as best album in several musical genres. The Doobie Awards will also pay tribute to Janis Joplin via a performance by the band from the Off Broadway show "Love, Janis." The group will be led by former Big Brother & the Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrews.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will on Oct. 2 release a pair of historic Cuban music compilations, "Matanzas Cuba, ca. 1957: Afro-Cuban Sacred Music from the Countryside" and "Havana Cuba, ca. 1957: Rhythms and Songs for the Orishas." Recorded and collected by revered ethnographer and folklorist Lydia Cabrera and photographer Josefina Tarafa, these recordings reflect the strong African character of colonial Cuba and the origins of today's Afro-Cuban sacred music. Both releases are culled from the original 1958 14-album series, "M?sica de los cultos africanos en Cuba (Music of the African Cults in Cuba)," recorded in the field and produced by Cabrera and Tarafa.

Graeme "Shirley" Strachan, singer of '70s Australian glam band Skyhooks, died yesterday (Aug. 29) in a helicopter crash, Billboard Bulletin reports. He was 49. Skyhooks' first two albums on Mushroom, "Living in the Seventies" (1974) and "Ego Is Not a Dirty Word" (1975), sold a combined 500,000 units, according to the label, despite most of the tracks being banned on radio. Strachan left the band in 1978 and carved out a career as a TV and radio presenter.