Plus, news about Gene Simmons, Neil Young, Macy Gray, Marilyn Manson, Paula Poundstone, Cedric the Entertainer, and others

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SOUND BITES Creed weathered the competition and became the first act in months to hold on to the top spot on the Billboard chart for more than a week. ”Weathered” sold 417,450 copies according to SoundScan, just under half what it sold during its debut the week before. Also holding on to last week’s slots were the No. 2 record, hits compilation ”NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 8” (353,075 sold) and No. 4, Garth Brooks‘ ”Scarecrow” (231,000 copies). Ludacris‘ ”Word of Mouf” opened at No. 3, selling 281,825 units. Britney Spears‘ ”Britney” slid two spaces to No. 5 (225,800 copies).

At No. 6 was ”NOW That’s What I Call Christmas,” while seasonal favorites Mannheim Steamroller climbed to No. 8 with ”Christmas Extraordinaire.” Busta Rhymes debuted at No. 7 with ”Genesis.” Enya‘s ”A Day Without Rain” dropped three places to No. 9, and Enrique Iglesias‘ ”Escape” slipped one space to No. 10. Elsewhere on the chart, George Harrison‘s reissue of ”All Things Must Pass” leapt from No. 146 to No. 73 and should jump even higher next week as the impact of his death begins to hit record buyers….

Gene Simmons‘ autobiography, out next week, is called ”Kiss and Make-Up,” but given the dirt he dishes on his bandmates and his lovers, he should have called it ”Kiss and Tell.” Simmons has particularly harsh words for guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, calling them irresponsible hacks whose limited abilities to show up at recording sessions and concerts and play well was further compromised by addictions to drugs and alcohol. (Simmons is a teetotaler.) He says that when drunk, Frehley would make out with men (a photo in the book seems to confirm this), crash cars (once injuring his face so badly that a photographer had to make a mirror image of the unhurt side of his face to complete an album cover) and dress up in Nazi regalia. Simmons calls Criss an undisciplined whiner who tried to convince the band at one point that he had spent a rehab stint learning to read music (he hadn’t, Simmons says), and who was fired from Kiss’ farewell tour because he demanded a raise partway through. Of that tour, he writes, ”People were crying in the audience, but maybe it wasn’t because they were never going to see us again ? Maybe it was because Ace and Peter were playing so badly. As the tour went on, it became clear to me that the decision to make this tour the last one was not only smart but maybe inevitable.”

Describing his own immigrant-made-good saga, the Israeli-born Simmons boasts of 4,600 one-night-stands and discusses lovers who’ve included Cher, Diana Ross, and wife Shannon Tweed. He also comes off as the most brazenly mercenary rocker since Chuck Berry, claiming a variety of marketing innovations for Kiss, a band that would pull any stunt to get noticed and slap its logo on any merchandise, from dolls to coffins. ”We were not concerned with credibility,” he writes….

Neil Young has written a song inspired by the heroes of Flight 93, who prevented the doomed Sept. 11 flight from crashing into a populated area. It’s called ”Let’s Roll,” after an utterance made by Todd Beamer as he and other passengers went to confront the hijackers, resulting in the plane crashing in a Pennsylvania field, killing all on board. The song is currently hitting radio stations but won’t be sold as a single, as Young felt it inappropriate to capitalize commercially on the tragedy. Still, the song may appear on his next album, due in the spring.


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  • Michael Mann