Local Current Blog

Music News: Official Prince tribute lineup reveal seems imminent

The Minneapolis skyline is reflected in the glass of U.S. Bank Stadium, July 2016 (Courtney Perry for MPR News)

After a tentative lineup leaked last month via the Minnesota State Arts Board, organizers of the Oct. 13 Prince tribute at U.S. Bank Stadium said that an official announcement about the tribute would be coming after Labor Day. Attorney L. Londell McMillan, who’s involved with organizing the event, has further hinted via Twitter that an official announcement is coming this week.

Meanwhile, Sheila E. (who recently said she is not currently scheduled to perform at the U.S. Bank Stadium event) and Morris Day (who says he is) have announced a one-off Prince tribute show on Oct. 15, at Cleveland’s I-X Center. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

A rare copy of Prince’s 1986 LP Camille is up for auction. The album was never officially released, and it’s unknown exactly how many copies exist. “Camille” was a female alter-ego of Prince’s, achieved on record by speeding up his vocals. Most of the album’s tracks were reworked for later release on Sign ‘O’ the Times. By Sunday, bidding for the lot — which includes Camille along with other vintage Prince albums — had reached nearly $5,000. (Rolling Stone)

The battle over whether putative Prince heirs need to submit to genetic testing continues. Brianna and Victoria Nelson claim to be the niece and grandniece of Prince, having descended from the late Duane Nelson. Prince’s father John Nelson is listed as father on the birth certificate of Duane — who was born within a few months of Prince, to a different mother — but the question of whether Duane was actually John’s biological son has been disputed. Judge Kevin Eide has asked Brianna and Victoria to substantiate their relationship with genetic testing, but the women’s attorneys say that request violates both the Minnesota and U.S. constitutions. (Star Tribune)

Gord Downie plans new album

The Tragically Hip have said goodbye, but frontman Greg Downie still has more music to make. Downie, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, plans to release a new album and graphic novel inspired by the true story of a boy who died in 1966 after running away from an Indian residential school in Ontario. “The money from the new album and book will be used to help the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation identify some of children who died at the schools and were buried in unmarked graves,” reports the Globe and MailSecret Path will be released on Oct. 18, an an accompanying animated film will subsequently be broadcast on the CBC.

Gaga recruits indie all-stars

The next album from Lady Gaga will feature a stable of indie-rock stars: BeckFlorence Welch, and Father John Misty, Gaga says, in addition to her collaborators on the just-released track “Perfect Illusion.” That song features Mark RonsonKevin Parker (Tame Impala), and Bloodpop. The new album’s title and release date remain TBD. (Pitchfork)

Astral Weeks producer dies at 81

Record producer Lewis Merenstein has died of pneumonia at 81. Predominantly a jazz producer, Merenstein entered rock history when he was recruited to produce Astral Weeks, the 1968 Van Morrison album that’s widely considered a classic. (Rolling Stone) In The Current’s poll to determine the 893 most essential albums of all timeAstral Weeks came in at number 64.

Billy Corgan gets the Rubin treatment

The latest musician to enlist Rick Rubin as producer is Billy Corgan, who says he’s just finished a new solo album with Rubin, who Corgan calls “one of the greatest producers in the history of rock and roll.” No release date for the Corgan/Rubin collaboration has yet been announced. (Pitchfork)

New band for Greg Norton

Greg Norton, the bassist of Hüsker Dü, has joined the La Crosse, Wisc. band Porcupine. “I still feel like I have a lot of rock and roll left in me. I certainly feel like I still have things to say and things to do,” says Norton. “I still love it and still want to get up and make great music and have fun. Porcupine is definitely fulfilling both of those things.” Led by singer-songwriter Casey Virock, Porcupine is already well-established, with three albums released and a fourth in progress. (La Crosse Tribune)

“Pig Roast” controversy

Twin Cities musician Maria Isa is the subject of controversy after performing her song “Pig Roast” at the River Balcony Prototyping Festival in St. Paul. One attendee told the Pioneer Press he was offended by the song, which criticizes “police officers who are allowed to work after killing for no reason,” said Isa. The performer said the song was well-received, and the St. Paul police union said it hasn’t received any complaints.

Toni Basil’s still got it

Toni Basil, who had a pop hit in 1982 with “Mickey” and went on to work as choreographer with greats including David Bowie and Talking Heads, is now 72 years old — and, as she demonstrated in a recent dance workshop, she can still bring the fire on the dance floor. (BuzzFeed)