The Morning Mix: U2 Wants a Mulligan; Leno Has an Insatiable Appetite 4 Prince; Jack White's Weather Report

Headlines: U2, whose new "No Line on the Horizon" tops the latest Billboard 200, wants to rework and re-release some of its early work, including "Boy," the band's 1980 debut. "I would love to sing that album again and finish that," Bono said yesterday. The band "couldn't afford another hour," he said, so they rushed to complete the album. "The early records, there's some beautiful songs that feel a little bit unfinished to us." Key sentence from the Reuters story: Pressed on what he'd like to change, the Irish rocker singled out his "phony English accent" on "Boy." ... Prince has booked a mini-residency on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." His Royal Badness, who is merely one of the greatest live performers in the universe, will smoke the "Tonight Show" stage March 25-27, just before his new multi-disc album is released at Target; the little purple polyglot will return to the program in late May, near the end of Leno's run as host. ... Jack White has started a supergroup, featuring members of the Kills, Queens of the Stone Age and White's own Raconteurs. They're called the Dead Weather, and you can hear them here. White, by the way, is playing drums, not guitar, for the band. ... Poof-metal rocker/reality star Bret Michaels is going into tell-all mode in his upcoming autobiography, "Roses and Thorns: The Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy to My Reality." Says the Poison frontman: "It gives you the sex, the drugs, the rock 'n' roll, but it also gives you the diabetes." It also gives you the brawls with Poison guitarist CeCe DeVille. "Getting into a fist fight with someone who is your friend is one of the harder things to live with, much less write about," Michaels says. Simon & Shuster will publish the tome in June. ... Mandy Moore is now Mrs. Ryan Adams. Sorry, Malitz. Also, sorry I didn't think of this headline first: "Mandy Moore Joins the Adams Family." Curses! ... One of these days, this will be a Chris Brown-free zone. Today is not that day. The latest: Brown has nixed his Nickelodeon nominations. His manager has denied the rumors/reports that she sent Brown an inappropriate text that started the hip-hop star's fight with Rihanna. (Also: She did not have sexual relations with that young man, her attorney said in a statement.) And Brown's latest album, "Exclusive," just isn't selling, post-(alleged) assault; the recording "isn't even generating enough sales to bypass the 2,690 units sold by this week's 200th-ranked album," says Rolling Stone. ... Jimmy Boyd, original singer of the much-covered seasonal song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," has died. ... Peter Garrett is temporarily getting the band back together. The political rocker-turned-politician is reuniting the great Australian group, Midnight Oil, for a concert to raise funds for victims of Australia's bushfires and floods.

Say What?
"That was awesome! Payola! I did singles for a while and I did albums for a while. They called every week, and you would write down on a sheet of paper they would send you every week, and you'd write down your Top 100 singles and you just rattle them off to Billboard magazine. I mean, the stories I could tell you of people calling and saying, 'Hey man, do you think you could put so and so in the top 10?' I'm like, 'Dude, they're not even in my top 50.' And they're like, 'You like U2?' 'Yeah!' And the next day here come four CD players and the whole U2 collection. You gotta love it!" -- Darius Rucker, the Hootie and the Blowfish singer who recently went both country and solo , on one of his responsibilities as a record-store clerk in South Carolina, back in the pre-Soundscan days.

Concert Pick of the Day

Harlem Shakes, 9:30 club. The headliners are Bell X1, but I'm much more interested in the openers, who specialize in shimmering, sprightly indie-pop that's catchier than Matt Wieters. The well-connected Brookyn (not Harlem) band mixes a few curveballs into its guitar-rock repertoire, too, on upcoming album "Technicolor Health." Insinuating single "Strictly Game," for instance, matches a scuzzy, buzzy bass line and some fluttering sax notes with a tribal drum pattern and lilting ooh-ooh vocal harmonies. And that's just the intro. (The circa-'83 synthesized drum breaks come later, as do the syncopated, globe-trotting Vampire Weekendisms. [Or are they Beirutisms?]) Anyway, catch them before you're already tired of them, which should happen roughly three days after they become the latest big thing.

Today in Covers ...
If, for some inexplicable reason, you've always wondered what Adam Sandler would sound like if he covered a Neil Young song, well, here's your answer: The comedian's version of "Like a Hurricane" is included on "Covered, A Revolution In Sound," a newly released album on which Warner Bros. Records acts cover older WBR acts to commemorate the company's 50th anniversary. But the Sandler version is not as interesting/weird as one might hope. (Neil covering "Chanukah Song" would have been vastly superior.) The album's best entry? The Flaming Lips doing a psychedelic electro-space-rock version of Madonna's "Borderline." The worst: The Used conflating David Byrne with Trent Reznor on an industrial-emo version of "Burning Down the House."

List of the Day
Gibson Guitar's web site has posted a list of the 10 All-Time Great Session Guitarists -- and not all of them play Gibsons! Steve Cropper (right), a Fender and Peavey guy, is the first fret whiz on the list, which also includes David Lindley, who "has often used cheap department-store guitars to capture a distinctive sound." Of course, Gibson gets a few of its own guys onto the list, including Larry Carlton, aka Mr. 335, and Chet Akins, the king of country licks who eventually aligned with Gibson after years as a Gretsch guy. (Hat tip: The Daily Swarm.)

Video of the Day

In which The-Dream, who is supposedly R&B's answer to Radiohead, instead makes like R&B's answer to [insert name of favorite freestyle rapper here], freestyle-singing over Notorious B.I.G. beats.

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By J. Freedom du Lac |  March 12, 2009; 8:19 AM ET Morning Mix
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I hope Friday's mix includes the Gene Simmons vs. Bob Lefsetz smackdown - almost as funny as the Jim Cramer vs. Jon Stewart war.

Posted by: Hemisphire | March 12, 2009 7:22 PM

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