Waxwings fly free; Jack White officially a rock star

Jun 18, 2003 at 12:00 am

Bling, bling, bling

Hats off to up-and-coming Detroit hip-hop pair Bookie and Big Q, also known as the Rounders. Two of the duo’s songs, including the forthcoming single “Better,” were chosen by dapper thespian Morgan Freeman for inclusion on the sound track of his next film, Guilty By Association.


Blood on the tracks

After two under-the-radar classics, 2000’s Low to the Ground and last year’s Shadows of the Waxwings, the Waxwings have finally parted ways with Bobsled Records. The lawyerly split was, of course, somewhat ugly, particularly after frothy-mouthed label boss and famous letter writer Bob Salerno made irrational demands of the band involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We were really happy to get out of that deal,” says a mirthful-sounding Waxwing Dean Fertita. “We’re back to living hand-to-mouth.”

Indeed. Shows on a recent Waxwings East Coast tour had label weasels in attendance, but as of yet, no deal is on the table. The band hopes to complete its self-financed new disc (recorded by Brendan Benson) by the end of July. Two songs from said sessions will surface later this summer on a one-off Cass Records single. Fertita also says he might be doing a few dates with Benson’s Well-Fed Boys, filling-in the guitar vacancy left by Zach Shipps, to help defray recording costs.


Diamond in the rough

The Sights new lineup — sans keyboardist Nate Cavalieri and bassist Matt Hatch — sports a two-in-one replacement in organist Bobby Emmett. “It’s fuckin’ beautiful,” coos Sights front man Eddie Baranek. “The only thing I would add if I was to add anything is a saxophone, one that could get really wrong-sounding and noisy … everybody’s like ‘oh, it’s the Doors’ and we’re like, ‘no, man, Terry Reid.’”

The Sights are fielding offers from high-end indies including, among others, Lookout and Yep Rock. The band returns to the UK in late August for a tour with stops at both the Reading and Leeds festivals. A possible Australian tour is in the works with Aussie mockers You Am I. Word is UK’s fey white-boy sentimentalists Travis requested the Sights as support on their forthcoming North American tour. The band also plans to start recording its follow-up to Got What We Want later this summer.

In addition, the boys of Sights are finishing a handful of covers at Jim Diamond’s Ghetto Recorders, two of which are set to be released on the increasingly ubiquitous Cass Records. The A-side is said to be a “stellar cover” of Titus Turner’s R&B dust-kicker “Sticks and Stones.”

Speaking of Diamond, the much-ballyhooed knob-twiddler says his new label — cleverly christened Jim Diamond Records — is “going to have promotion and all that stuff and it probably won’t even cheat artists.” Go figure. Diamond Jim says a Bogue full-length will most likely be the label’s debut release.


Here’s yer rock star

If Detroit mints any more new bona fide celebrities, it’s gonna start looking like the fucking Hamptons around here — and no one wants Lizzie Grubman bee-lining it here post-prison to test out her SUV-crashing skills, do they? Here’s the deal: According to those tabloid sensations at the New York Post, our very own Jackie White has been arm-in-arm with his Cold Mountain co-star Renée Zellweger in recent weeks. Hell, even a local daily gossip wag spotted the current It Girl at an east side Farmer Jack (no pun intended, likely). The net is abuzz with White-Zellweger sightings in California — backstage at White Stripes shows, catching the LA run of the Broadway hit The Producers (let’s not forget, Jack’s a Cole Porter and show tune devotee).

It’s like our 313-born A-List celebrities need to bring their chicks home to meet Mom. To wit: Kid Rock woos Pam Anderson and brood to the burbs; Eminem brings a film crew’s worth of comely distaff (Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy and Kim Basinger) to town and now Mr. White’s Texas filly decompresses from shooting the bubbly flick Down With Love by slumming it D style.

All of this would mean no more than scenespotters’ saliva if White’s celebrity squiring didn’t point to the fact that we now have a rock star in our midst. When you can trot with the crème of Tinseltown, pull off the classic alpha-male/androgynous rock star dichotomy/mythos, work the corporate media like the whores they are, sell a million records, and still manage to hang out with old friends at home while on downtime from the road without losing a scrap of dignity, your ticket’s pretty much written. And this is before your debut turn in a Major Hollywood Picture has even seen the light of day.

And don’t think poor Meg’s been left out in the cold, cold night, either — she’s had the recent honor of setting sail with mono-monickered Beck for a leisurely afternoon of yachting in Sydney (Australia) Harbor.

No word yet as to whether or not Jack’s adoring and protective masses approve of the move or not. We here at Hit Singles approve. We think the world needs rock stars. In fact, we see this as the most noteworthy rock star/movie star coupling since Peter Wolf snagged Faye Dunaway.

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