This week on the music beat

THE OLD ULTRAVIOLENCE Michael Stipe seems an unlikely guy to be a fan of American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel about a sociopathic yuppie that was widely denounced as a gore-fest of gratuitous misogyny when it was published. So how come the R.E.M. frontman is in negotiations to executive-produce the film version of a book that makes the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom seem like light reading? Stipe, who told EW when he opened his film production company, Single Cell Pictures, that he felt ”the run of films of ultra-surreal violence has run its course,” has apparently reassessed the social climate. The film is set to begin production this spring, with Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) slated to direct. No word yet on how graphically the book’s more gruesome scenes will be portrayed, but if it’s true to Ellis’ vision, expect the film to turn stomachs inside out.

UNDER THE BRIDGE AGAIN? Things are looking a little funky in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ camp — and we don’t mean musically. While bassist Flea attributes the band’s recent cancellation of three shows in Hawaii, Alaska, and Las Vegas to a lack of ”proper rehearsal time,” others are speculating that the real reason may be more pernicious — particularly since guitarist Dave Navarro, fresh off the Jane’s Addiction reunion tour, has admitted to picking up drugs again. ”Me and a friend…were both five years sober, and we went and got high out of the blue,” Navarro told the online music magazine Addicted to Noise. Chili Peppers publicist Ken Phillips confirms that Navarro ”experimented” with unspecified drugs during the Jane’s tour but insists the guitarist has since cleaned up his act: ”Right now, he’s resting because he’s totally wiped out — not from drugs, just from being on that tour.” Uh-huh. Somehow, the lyrics to the group’s 1995 song ”Warped” — ”I’m pretending see/To be strong and free/From my dependency” — never sounded more poignant.

POST-GRUNGE BLUES Crank up those amps for a feedback-laden rendition of ”Taps”: Dinosaur Jr., Gin Blossoms, and the Presidents of the United States of America have all decided to call it quits.