Billboard Bits: McCartney, Gorillaz, Skunk Anansie

News on Paul McCartney, Gorillaz, Tank Girl, Damon Albarn, Blur, Dan the Automator, Cibo Matto, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Skunk Anansie

Paul McCartney tops U.K. newspaper the Sunday Times' annual list of the country's wealthiest musicians. The former Beatle's personal fortune grew by $235 million last year to $1 billion -- attributed to $200 million inherited from his late wife Linda, who died in 1998, as well as the rewards from sales of the Beatles anthology "1" -- putting him at No. 1 among musical moguls, and 36th on overall list of the country's richest people.

The paper ranks composer Andrew Lloyd Webber second among musicians, with an estimated fortune of $605 million, and producer Cameron Mackintosh third with $575 million. In fourth place is Robert Stigwood, producer of musical films including "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever," worth an estimated $290 million. In fifth place is Chris Wright of Chrysalis Media Group, valued at $275 million.

Gorillaz, the cartoon band featuring alter egos of Blur's Damon Albarn, Dan the Automator, and Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, has announced a handful of European live dates in support of its self-titled debut, released internationally late last month via Virgin. The group, comprising singer 2-D, bassist Murdoc, guitarist Noodle, and drummer Russel, bills itself as an animated band that does not exist, and performs behind a large screen onto which projected cartoon images of its members cavort.

The Gorillaz' cartoon likenesses were created by "Tank Girl" artist Jamie Hewlett. The group's debut album, due in June in North America on Virgin, features contributions from Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club, and Ibrahim Ferrer of Buena Vista Social Club.

Here are the Gorillaz' tour dates:
June 22: Paris (La Cigale)
June 24: Dublin (Olympia)
June 27: Edinburgh, Scotland (Corn E xchange)
June 28: Birmingham, England (Academy)
June 29: Manchester, England (Academy)
Aug. 8: Liverpool, England (Creamfields festival)

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

U.K.-based rock act Skunk Anansie has thrown in the towel. A statement released by the band says its members "decided that they had taken Skunk Anansie as far as they could and that now the time is right to pursue solo careers. This has been a mutual decision and the band remain the best of friends."

Skunk Anansie formed in 1994 and found great international success with three albums of metal-edged rage. Two -- 1995's "Paranoid & Sunburnt" and the following year's "Stoosh" -- were released on One Little Indian in the U.K. and on Epic in the U.S., while 1999's "Post Orgasmic Chill" was issued worldwide by Virgin. While none appeared on any Billboard charts, the band sold more than 4 million albums worldwide, according to the statement.

Enigmatic singer Skin and guitarist Ace are working on solo albums, with Skin's set expected early next year. Bassist Cass is concentrating on both music and photography, while drummer Mark has appeared in a short film and will continue to pursue music.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Copyright 20 01 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.