Local Current Blog

Music News: Asteroid named after Freddie Mercury on his 70th birthday

Freddie Mercury circa 1975 (Keystone/Getty Images)

Asteroid 17473, which orbits the sun in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, has been named for Freddie Mercury on what would have been the late Queen frontman’s 70th birthday. “It’s just a dot of light,” said bandmate Brian May, “but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.” (Rolling Stone)

Remembering two music notables

Music manager Jerry Heller has died, after suffering a heart attack, at age 75. Heller started his career working with acts including Pink FloydMarvin GayeElton John, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, but his biggest contribution to music history was helping a little-known rap group called N.W.A. became an international sensation in the late 1980s. When the group broke up in 1991, Eazy-E continued to work with Heller, but Dr. Dre and Ice Cube accused Heller of mismanagement. Tensions between Heller and the surviving band members grew last year when Heller was portrayed, not entirely sympathetically, by Paul Giamatti in the band’s authorized biopic Straight Outta Compton. Heller subsequently sued the band for defamation, but most of that suit was dismissed earlier this year. (New York Times)

Folksinger Fred Hellerman has died at age 89. Hellerman was the last surviving member of the Weavers, a group that also included Pete SeegerLee Hays, and Ronnie Gilbert. In the 1950s, the Weavers showed that folk music could be commercially successful, providing a critical spark for what became known as the Folk Revival — paving the way for artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. (New York Times)

White House announces “South By South Lawn”

If SXSW wasn’t already mainstream, it sure is now: inspired by the Austin music festival, the White House has announced “South By South Lawn,” an Oct. 3 mini-festival that “aims to bring together creators and thinkers from around the country for a night of music, film and tech innovation,” reports Billboard. No bookings have yet been announced, but you can nominate yourself.

Nick Cave film premieres

The Nick Cave film One More Time with Feeling premiered at the Venice Film Festival; it will play for one night only at theaters around the world on Thursday, with Cave’s album Skeleton Tree being released the following day. The Hollywood Reporter says that “What’s most singular about the project — beautifully shot in black-and-white 3D, which often gives the images a beguiling disembodied quality — is that in addition to providing access to the creative process and deepening the album experience, it serves as a profoundly affecting reflection on the pain of parents who have lost a child.” Locally, One More Time with Feeling will screen at St. Anthony Main and the Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis.

Misfits reunite

Sunday night at Riot Fest Denver, Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only reunited as the Misfits for the first time since 1983. They’ll play again at Riot Fest Chicago on Sept. 18. (Pitchfork)

A salute to a King

On Thursday night, a Grammy Museum tribute concert to B.B. King featured performances by SlashKeb’ Mo’ZZ Ward, and more. The show was the first joint fundraiser for the Grammy Museum and the Grammy Foundation. (Billboard)

Bat For Lashes have a modest proposal for you

On Saturday night at the End of the Road festival in England, Bat For Lashes vocalist Natasha Khan welcomed a friend of hers to the stage — along with his girlfriend, who was his fiancée by the time the two left the stage. To celebrate the engagement, Bat For Lashes played “In Your Bed.” (Pitchfork)

Chance serenades Bey

Beyoncé celebrated her 35th birthday on Sunday. She and her husband Jay Z spent the day at Philadelphia’s Made in America festival, where Chance the Rapper sang “Happy Birthday” to Beyoncé from onstage. (The Fader)

Tom Waits pays baby-sitters in merch

On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Winona Ryder reminisced about a time when she was 14 years old and baby-sat for the children of Tom Waits. The singer-songwriter-actor didn’t even have 20 dollars on him, remembers Ryder, so he gave her a t-shirt from Franks Wild Years. Ryder, already a big fan of Waits, was happy about the deal. “I was thrilled, and literally I couldn’t speak.” (Rolling Stone)