Hear & Now
This week on the music beat
— WHISTLIN’ PIXIES The Pixies’ abrasive melodies may seem an unlikely choice for an ABBA-style musical, but the stage is being set for a show based on the life of lead singer (and ’80s college-rock legend) Frank Black. Written and directed by Josh Frank (who assisted the producer of the Janis Joplin bioplay Love, Janis), Teenager of the Year will include tunes from Black’s solo career and his time fronting the Boston-bred rockers. ”It’s sort of a Beat poem to the ’80s [and] how alternative rock crashed the mainstream party,” says Frank, who hopes to open the show Off Broadway in New York City next May or June. Frank has already met with many of Black’s friends and colleagues — including ex-Pixies David Lovering and Joey Santiago. He even got the okay from the man in Black himself — after some initial skepticism: ”When someone says, ‘I’m doing a musical, and you’re a major focus of it,’ it’s hard to take seriously,” says Black. ”It turns out that he had done a production of a Werner Herzog film [Woyzeck]. As soon as I read that, I thought, He’s a legit arty-farty.” This monkey’s gone…to Broadway?
— MEET THE PRESLEY Those seeking respite from the King-size litany of Elvis projects marking the 25th anniversary of his death are out of luck. Last month, RCA released ELVIS 30 #1 Hits, which sits atop the U.S. albums chart. On Oct. 8, the label and NBC announced plans for a TV special to air in November or December called Elvis Lives. ”Elvis does live, and he’s here to stay,” says exec producer David Saltz. ”It was just about finding the moment in time when it was right to reestablish that. This is the year.” The hour-long show will feature Bono, Britney Spears, and Dennis Hopper, among others. No Doubt will perform ”Suspicious Minds,” and Enrique Iglesias will cover a to-be-named tune. Surprisingly, the lineup will also include Chuck D, who, in Public Enemy’s ”Fight the Power,” rapped ”Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant s — – to me.” ”That line was why we wanted to talk to him,” says Saltz (who also produced the 2000 special The Beatles Revolution). ”Chuck’s view on that represents his artistic community. There certainly were black musicians that came before him. But Chuck understands the contribution Elvis made in fusing blues, gospel, and country.”