Of the many things a band likes to hear when they’re on tour, “Your album’s over” is not one of them. So you can imagine how Dolores O’Riordan and the rest of The Cranberries felt when the suits at their record label, MCA, gathered the band and told them that their current release, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” is ancient history in the U.S.
“[They said] they’ve moved on to other things,” drummer Fergal Lawlor told Hot Press. “Not the words of encouragement you’d like to hear as you’re about to embark on a U.S. tour.”
Despite the record’s lackluster sales, the band is packing 10,000-seat arenas throughout the country. So we can forgive Fergal’s (verbal) two-fingered salute to the label.
“Stuff ’em!” he crowed. Except he didn’t say “stuff.” Oh, use your imagination.
Noel: happy to be alive
One thing you can say about Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher: for a guy who professes not to enjoy the whole rock star trip, he’s starting to become something of a Chatty Kathy whenever he sees a reporter. Recently, Noel aired his views on the state of rock and roll, separating the wheat from the chaff — or is that the brilliant from the bollixed?
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As you will recall, Noel is very much of the opinion that rock stars are over the hill by the time they hit 30. And he freely admits that, at 35, he’s a tad past his sell-by date. But he saves his snarkiest comments for rock dinosaurs The Rolling Stones. Mich Jagger and Co. are getting ready to mount a tour celebrating their 40th anniversary — assuming, of course, that no one breaks a hip or loses a denture beforehand.
“The Rolling Stones made one good album,” Gallagher told Maxim magazine.
“[That album was] ‘Let It Bleed,'” he said. “The rest of them, I just can’t sit through all that nonsense. They should just call it a day.”
Nope, no sympathy for the devil around the Gallagher hacienda. In fact, Noel relishes the thought of coming face to face with Jumpin’ Jack Flash. He’d love to have a word in his ear.
“I would like to say . . . ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do?'” Gallagher said smugly. “I mean, surely to God . . .”
Now, if you think our rock star pal is a bit too hard on the Stones, wait’ll you hear what he has to say about a band called System of a Down. In an announcement that should bring great comfort to all those struggling, mediocre rock and pop bands out there, Noel has declared that he has seen, if not the mountain top, then the deepest, darkest crater on the planet. But let’s let him tell it.
“After I heard System of a Down, I thought, I’m actually alive to hear the [rhymes with ‘prettiest’] band ever,” he ranted.
Now, surely he doesn’t mean ever . . .
“Of all the bands that have gone before and all the bands that’ll be in the future, I was around when the worst was around.”
On the up side, those System kids can take comfort in the fact that they were slated in practically the same breath as The Rolling Stones. The downside, of course, is that now that the bottom rung is occupado, those pre-fab pop bands have nothing to shoot for.
Liam: feeling a phantom menace
There’s nothing like being stuck in the close quarters of a submarine to facilitate A-list bonding in Hollywood. Just ask new best pals Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford, who forged a firm friendship on the set of their Cold War action thriller, “K-19: The Widowmaker.”
When not smacking his head on the set’s central big red valve — “Every time I would get used to it, the prop guys would move it,” complained the 6-foot-4 Neeson — the Irish actor and the “Indiana Jones” star would jump into Harrison’s private plane for some soaring in the wild blue yonder.
Except that the sorties into the blue sky left Liam feeling rather green — if not, well, yellow.
“I’ve been up in the air with Harrison,” Neeson confided to reporters at the movie’s New York premiere.
“We hit turbulence and he’s Mr. Cool and I’m sitting in the back cowering,” laughed Liam. “If it was me I’d probably get out and scream. I get dizzy on a thick carpet.”
Rourke: Taking the mickey?
OK, we’ll admit it: for about 10 minutes in the 1980s, we thought actor Mickey Rourke was hot. After all, the guy starred in great movies like “Diner” and “Year of the Dragon,” before he started working for food money in crap like “9-1/2 Weeks” and “Johnny Handsome.” We even found him appealing in his weird and wacky IRA-themed potboiler,” A Prayer for the Dying,” but finally gave up the ghost when he went smelly and bloated for “Barfly,” the movie that singlehandedly killed Faye Dunaway’s career.
Anyway, we’re happy to note that Rourke is attempting a comeback of sorts, in a British movie called “Red Light Runners.” Rourke will be part of a diverse cast that includes actor Dennis Hopper, Mr. Posh Spice, David Beckham, Harvey Keitel and rock star Gavin Rossdale of the band Bush.
As a novelty, the film’s producer plans to include a cameo by a special guest star. Nothing too unusual about that — except that the guest star has already bought the farm, so to speak.
“Via digital FX, we plan to bring back a dearly missed, deeply talented celebrity,” said writer/producer Clark Westerman. He won’t reveal the identity of the person who’s getting the posthumous honor, but says that viewers will want to pay close attention, since the ghostly guest “will be inserted into a background of a scene.”
Christy: allergic to plastic
She might hang around with U2 and have gotten thisclose to bagging merry bachelor Ed Burns, but there’s only so much advice we can take from former supermodel Christy Turlington without barfing. But, sick bags notwithstanding, the depressingly well-preserved mannequin wants the rest of us to cool it with the cosmetic surgery, already.
“I’m totally opposed to Botox and collagen and cosmetic surgery,” Christy told the Mail on Sunday, with the same fervor one might reserve for opposing, say, communism or Jerry Springer. But Christy has seen the dark side of the moon, so to speak, and she wants to save us from ourselves.
“I’ve a few peers who have had stuff done and it’s horrifying,” she gasped.
Christy is dead set against tinkering with Mother Nature. She says she’s not “afraid of aging” and “wouldn’t be 20 again for anything.” Noble sentiments, certainly. But we’re making a mental note to check back when she hits 40 and starts noticing that powder eyeshadow really does settle into fine lines, and that it wouldn’t hurt young people to cover up a bit more.
Pierce to play the game
Talk about branding and cross-promotion. We hear that the producers of the James Bond franchise have OK’d an interactive video game based on the series. A company called Electronic Arts is hard at work on the game, titled “James Bond 007: Nightfire.”
The game will feature Pierce Brosnan as Bond and include a number of past Bond girls and snarling villains. It’ll be available for the major game systems and PC in November, and its release will coincide with the film’s theatrical opening.
Red-dy for Prime Time
He’s edgier than Jay Leno, nicer than David Letterman, and, best of all, from a big Boston Irish American family. We refer, of course, to our favorite late night talk show host, Conan O’Brien. Though usually relegated to his post-midnight slot on NBC, Conan is reportedly the network’s choice to host this year’s Prime Time Emmys telecast, which will take place in September.
We think this would be a great idea, especially if Conan is allowed to bring some of his show’s characters along. Although maybe not — who knows what that frisky bear would do in prime time?
‘Road’ paved with Frank’s good intentions
If you found yourself wondering how Paul Newman was able to nail that subtle Irish accent in his new movie, “The Road to Perdition,” we’ve got the 411. It seems that the distinguished actor, determined to capture the nuances of the Americanized brogue, turned to Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and former teacher) Frank McCourt for help.
The N.Y. Post’s Neal Travis reports that McCourt was happy to lend a hand — or, literally, a tongue — to a good cause.
“I was flattered when Paul asked me to his house to help him with his Irish accent for ‘The Road to Perdition,’ ” said McCourt. ” I read the script out loud to give Paul a hint of my accent.”
Newman impressed McCourt with his assimilation of the Limerican lilt.
“He picked it up perfectly,” said McCourt. “If a professional linguist analyzed his accent in the movie he would say the Newman character had left Limerick around 50 years ago, which is exactly what Paul wanted and is my own personal history.”
Pop stars fly the scary skies
Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and his girlfriend, First Daughter Georgina Ahern, were among 140 terrified passengers aboard an Aer Lingus flight that that was forced to make an emergency landing last week. The plane, which was traveling from London to Dublin, made an emergency landing in Manchester when fire alarms went off throughout the craft.
Nicky said that the experience was “pretty scary.”
“I was quite tired and had fallen asleep straight away,” he said. “But about 20 minutes into the flight, Georgina woke me in a panic because the pilot said we’d have to land pretty quickly.”
The Westlife singer woke up pretty quickly when he heard the pilot’s next announcement.
“[He] said there were fire alarms going off everywhere and explained we would have to land in Manchester as he couldn’t risk going to London.”
When all was said and done, it turned out that the alarms were triggered by a teenage boy who was smoking a cigarette in the lavatory. We think it’s a safe assumption that the teen won’t be sitting anywhere — comfortably — for a long while.
Also on board the plane was British pop star Will Young. But to dispel the dangerous notion that all celebrities travel in packs, we want to point out that neither Will nor Nicky knew that the other was on the plane. Which probably means that someone was travelin’ coach. And somehow, we don’t think it was Nicky and Georgina.
One of the original celebrity emigres to give Dublin its reputation as a rock star magnet was legendary rock diva Marianne Faithfull. The ’60s wild child-turned-Brechtian chanteuse has spent the last 15 years in Ballsbridge, but we hear that she plans to return to London in the fall to pursue a slew of professional opportunities. Which begs the question: can Chris De Burgh keep the city’s cool quotient up all by himself? Even if Def Leppard alum Rick Savage and Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley promise to do their bit? Stay tuned.
Iggy pops off at The Coors
OK, so you think being a member of Irish supergroup The Corrs is all creamy pints and cashmere (or whatever). We hear that the photogenic siblings almost found themselves on the wrong side of a microphone the other night at an Iggy Pop concert.
Apparently, Caroline, Jim and Andrea weren’t grooving to the music — at least, not to Iggy’s satisfaction. So the iconoclastic singer, who didn’t recognize Ireland’s royal family of pop, decided to swing his microphone dangerously close to their heads. Minders, security folk and assorted managers hustled the Corrs out of the VIP section as Iggy continued his act. Somehow, we don’t think the Dundalk darlings bothered to show up at the after party . . .