Billboard Bits: Pennywise, Pavarotti, Violent Femmes

News on Pennywise, Luciano Pavarotti, Violent Femmes

PennywisePunk veterans Pennywise will on June 19 release a new album, "Land of the Free," via Epitaph. The set will arrive just days before Pennywise sets off on this year's Vans Warped Tour and will feature first single "Fuck Authority." It was produced by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age) and is the follow-up to 1999's "Straight Ahead," which debuted at No. 62 on The Billboard 200.

A preview of the album track "Time Marches On" is available via Pennywise's official Web site. A European trek prior to the Warped Tour begins May 23 in Offenbach, Germany.

Opera star Luciano Pavarotti's tax evasion trial opened today (May 2) in Modena, Italy, but the proceedings were quickly adjourned until September. The hearing was limited to technicalities and Pavarotti was not in court. His lawyer, Massimo Leone, said the next trial date is Sept. 17.

Italian prosecutors allege that the tenor filed false tax returns from 1989 to 1995. Leone refused to indicate the amount of money involved. Pavarotti has long claimed that his official residence is the principality of Monte Carlo, a tax haven, rather than Modena.

"We will present a series of documents and witnesses to show that the core of Pavarotti's business is not in Italy, but all over the world, from Britain to the United States," said Leone.

Pavarotti, who just celebrated his 40th anniversary in opera, will attend the trial in the future, Leone said. In a separate administrative battle over the same taxes, Pavarotti last summer agreed to pay the Italian government more than $11.3 million in back taxes and penalties.

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Violent FemmesVeteran alternative rock act the Violent Femmes has released an MP3-only album via online music site Titled "Something's Wrong," the 22-track collection features cover songs (the Police's "Every Breath You Take," Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street," and Paul Anka's "My Way"), rare demo and alternative recordings of Femmes songs, outtakes from sessions for the 2000 album "Freak Magnet," and live versions of B-sides from the band's 1998 acoustic tour.

"I suppose in the old days, this stuff would have been available as bootlegs, B-sides and tracks on compilation albums," says Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie. "In other words, impossible to find and enormously expensive collectors items. Instead, Violent Femmes and EMusic have considerately gathered all of this music together and it can be yours with the mere tap of a computer keyboard. That's progress."

As a whole, "Something's Wrong" is available to EMusic subscribers. Non-subscribers can sample the set's title track via a free download, and purchase a download of the set for $8.99 or 99 cents per track.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Copyright 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


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