Music News: Chuck E. Cheese breaks up the animatronic band

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Munch's Make Believe Band at Chuck E. Cheese.
Animatronic Helen Henny and Mr. Munch in Munch's Make Believe Band at a Chuck E. Cheese in 2013. (Sam Howzit/CC BY 2.0)

The Chuck E. Cheese pizza and amusement chain is starting a fresh round of restaurant updates, and there's a big change: the newly remodeled restaurants won't have the animatronic musicians that thrilled some, terrified many, but ultimately were simply ignored by most.

"The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago," the chain's CEO Tom Leverton tells CBS News. The chain hasn't completely committed to removing animatronics at every restaurant — they're going to see how it goes at the seven remodeled locations — but Leverton says he has a "strong hypothesis" the kids are going to be happier with live costumed performers than with the robots.

Father John Misty, for one, is bummed. In a Facebook post, he says that as a touring musician he was inspired by the fictional mouse's endurance, "playing up to 5 sets a night all over the country...Don't forget: this man's middle name was literally 'Entertainment.'"

Chance makes waves in business world

Chance the Rapper is the only musician on Fortune's annual 40 Under 40 list of young influentials — and, at 24, the youngest person on the list. "Fortune highlighted his untraditional path to success in the music industry, as well as his endorsement deals with brands like Apple, Nestle and Nike," summarizes Billboard. "The rapper notably skipped a major label deal in favor streaming his own mixtapes, and found himself the winner of a trio of Grammys anyway."

Ken Burns Vietnam doc soundtrack announced

The Vietnam War, a new series by acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns, premieres Sept. 17 on PBS. An accompanying soundtrack will feature songs of the era by artists including Bob Dylan ("Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"), Creedence Clearwater Revival ("Bad Moon Rising"), and Merle Haggard ("Okie From Muskogee," of course).

There are some less predictable musical names associated with the project as well, though: the names of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who jointly composed the musical score for the series. The score will be released on its own double-album set, along with a two-disc soundtrack featuring the songs heard in the series. Both releases come out on Sept. 15. (Pitchfork)

Trumps to skip Kennedy Center Honors

Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, and LL Cool J will receive their Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 3 "without any political distraction," in the words of a White House statement announcing that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will skip the annual ceremony celebrating performing artists. The usual White House reception, which two honorees had already announced their intention to boycott, has also been canceled.

Most members of the arts community have been highly critical of Trump's various statements and actions. Though Richie wasn't sure, prior to the President's withdrawal, whether he'd attend the ceremony, he said in response to a question about it that "where we are at as a country right now is going backwards."

The Trumps' decision means that this year will mark the fourth time in the ceremony's 40-year history that the sitting President has been absent, but in the three previous cases the absences were due to foreign travel or — in the case of President Jimmy Carter in 1979 — the Iran hostage crisis. (NPR)

Taylor Swift's online presence becomes a blank space

Taylor Swift has blanked her website and her social media accounts — likely signaling the impending announcement of a new album, her first since 2014's 1989. Any Swift album announcement is a major event: 1989 won the Grammy for Album of the Year, and has sold 9.5 million copies worldwide. (Billboard)

JAY-Z honors Bennington

On Saturday night at the V Festival in Staffordshire, England, JAY-Z paid tribute to the late Chester Bennington by performing "Numb/Encore," a song from the collaborative EP Collision Course the rapper and Linkin Park released in 2004.

"Can you guys light it up tonight for Chester?" asked JAY-Z onstage. "Please make some noise so he can hear you all the way in heaven tonight!" (Pitchfork)


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