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Thursday, February 15, 2001

TUBE TUNES vol. 1, no. 8
Mailed Feb. 15, 2001

We’re swinging into the prime time for awards, and the two biggies are in the news. The Grammys air Wednesday, and the Oscars announced their slate this week.

And here, bringing it all to your inbox, is Tube Tunes. As usual, you can read it here, then read it again at the accompanying web site,

If my week goes right, watch for a write-up after the Grammys posted exclusively on the site.


From this corner, it looks like the Oscars were batting .500 this year. On the bad side, the music related films “Almost Famous” and “High Fidelty” were shut out of the best picture race. Both were among the best pictures of the year, and either could have easily stepped in for the dumb summer movie in vintage attire that was “Gladiator.”

On the plus side, however, a couple of decent tunes were nominated for best song.

The favorite will likely be Sting, awarded not for the empty and tepid “My Funny Friend and Me” from “The Emperor’s New Groove,” but for his long career and recent resurgence. Hollywood loves a comeback.

Bjork also has a good shot at a statue for “I’ve Seen It All” if the Academy decides to right the wrong of her snub in the best actress category for her work in “Dancer in the Dark.”

But the award ought to go to Bob Dylan, who already took home a Golden Globe for “Things Have Changed.” His tune for “Wonder Boys” was fantastic, a nice reminder that “Time Out of Mind” wasn’t a fluke.

If nothing else, it will be nice to see Dylan play live. Hopefully the theater will have been de-soy bombed in advance.


The other big awards show of the late winter, the Grammys, lumbers onto TV screens on Wednesday. After Eminem and Elton John share a “hands across the seas of hate” moment, things will seem pretty lukewarm. The always funny Jon Stewart will host, and the likes of Shelby Lynne and Moby will try to get the staid audience on its feet, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict another boring show. No wonder MTV’s Video Music Awards seems so hip. Look at the competition.

The NBA All-Star Game limped into the record books last weekend, and the pre-game hype was close to rivaling that of the Super Bowl. It provided it’s share of comic moments, to be sure. The funniest came during a segment of the pre-game geared toward kids. Host Ahmad Rashad was too hip, calling everyone from DJ Funkmaster Flex to teen star Aaron Carter “my main man.” The whole hip hop happening was a clear sign that the NBA has cast its lot with the Allen Iverson’s of the world, hoping to catch a few fans suckered by this sudden street cred. Never mind that the league’s main audience is twentysomething and early-30 males with way too much time on their hands, the likes of which would be more turned on by Creed or Zeppelin than DMX or Nelly. I used to love this game.

(all times CST; days begin and end at 5 a.m.)

Friday, Feb. 16
“One-Hit Wonder Countdown.” VH1, 3 p.m. and on. This show, several episodes of which run most of the day, supposes to collect hits from “one-hit wonders.” But is it fair to lump Chris Isaak, Sinead O’Connor and others with the likes of Kajagoogoo? The former peaked their heads up out of a body of consistent work for a moment of commercial success, while the latter just sucked.

Sunday, Feb. 18
Method Man on Oz. HBO, 9 p.m. Wu Tang alert! Meth checks in to the hippest prison on television... think he consulted with resident Wu incarceration expert Ol’ Dirty Bastard for some tips in search of verisimilitude?

Monday, Feb. 19
Rolling Stones on Antiques Roadshow. PBS, 7 p.m. The real reason to check this out is the location: Austin, Texas. If you’re headed to South by Southwest next month, here’s a way to get in the right frame of mind. And the Stones? Well, the musical connection is tenuous at best, but the Roadshow crew does appraise a valuable 1965 vintage concert poster featuring Mick and the boys.

Tuesday, Feb. 20
Joseph Arthur on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. NBC, 11:35 p.m. Arthur the a hard-to-pin-down singer-songwriter whose sophomore disc “Come to Where I’m From” was a frequent fixture on best of lists last year.

Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Grammy Awards. CBS, 7 p.m. To warm up for the big show, catch Elton John duet partner Eminem on the Today Show Wednesday morning, and MTV’s “Grammy Uncensored” show throughout the day.

Thursday, Feb. 22
“Backstage at the Grammys.” MTV, 1:30 p.m. Didn’t get enough of the music industry’s self-love fest? Check out this behind-the-scenes wrap-up.

Friday, Feb. 23
Taj Mahal and the Foo Fighters on Later with Jools Holland. BBCAmerica, 6 p.m. As usual, Holland has an eclectic assortment of acts on his live performance show. Don’t get to see Taj Mahal much, so tune in.

Saturday, Feb. 24
Cockeyed Ghost on “Friends ‘til the End.” VH1, 9:30 a.m. This isn’t really worth watching, but when a middling power pop band like Cockeyed Ghost is on TV, I need to bring it to your attention. On the plus side, you get to see Shannen Doherty in all her uber-bitch glory, circa 1997.

Monday, Feb. 26
Steve Earle in concert. CMT, 9:30 p.m. Catch the Hardcore Troubadour as he rips through tunes from his latest disc, “Transcendental Blues,” and some old favorites. Watch out for drummer Will Rigby, late of the Db’s.

Tuesday, Feb. 27
“Louis Armstrong: Chicago Style.” EncoreTrue, 5:45 p.m. As if “Jazz” didn’t give us all plenty of info about Satchmo, this biopic deals with Armstrong’s time in Chicago.

Wednesday, Feb. 28
The Doves on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. NBC, 11:35 p.m. This Brit-pop trio has mucho buzz. Let’s see how they do in a live setting.