Music News: Time's Up joins #MuteRKelly campaign

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R. Kelly performs in Brooklyn, 2015.
R. Kelly performs in Brooklyn, 2015. (Mike Pont/Getty Images)

The Women of Color group within the Time's Up movement has announced that it's joining online calls to "mute R. Kelly." The pop R&B star has been the subject of numerous sexual misconduct allegations over the course of many years, and last year a group of parents accused Kelly of involving their daughters in an abusive sex cult.

A backlash against Kelly has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, with a protest outside one of his concerts and Kelly being dropped from the upcoming Love Jam concert in Chicago. Some of Kelly's key staff members have resigned, some radio hosts are saying they'll no longer play Kelly's music, and Jack Antonoff has publicly called on his label RCA to drop Kelly.

"The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause," said the Time's Up group in a statement. "With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly's abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us — their time is up." (Billboard)

Kelly responded with a fiery statement calling the campaign an "attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture." (Pitchfork)

New female jazz collective to release code of conduct

A new group of female jazz musicians called the We Have Voice Collective plans this week to release a code of conduct that articulates "what a more equitable workplace might look like and setting expectations for change," reports the New York Times. Several venues, festivals, educational institutions, and media outlets have already agreed to abide by the code. Writes the Times:

The code, which was collectively written over a period of months, is divided into two painstakingly written sections: commitments and definitions. The commitments are a series of specific answers to the question, "How can we commit to creating safe(r) spaces in the performing arts?" The definitions offer a small, detailed glossary explaining the meaning of "sexual harassment," "workplace" and "consent."

The group was formed in response to growing recognition of abuse and harassment within the music world generally and the jazz world specifically; for example, music teachers making explicit comments about their students' bodies.

"We're not really doing this for the branding, or trying to be part of the one time that this happens in the mainstream," says singer Ganavya Doraiswamy. "We're really trying to do the groundwork and hold institutions accountable."

U2 stage director shares details on new tour

On the heels of their triumphant Joshua Tree anniversary tour, U2 are getting ready to hit the road again — and this time the focus will be on the future, says stage director Willie Williams. The band's preceding tour was called the Innocence + Experience Tour, and this one will be the Experience + Innocence Tour, spotlighting songs from their two most recent studio albums Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017).

Some of the improvements will be technical ("There are few things more boring to talk about than video screens, but the screen we're using is nearly 10 times the resolution than the screen we used just three years ago"), but the set list will also be revisited, with about 75% of the show being new, says Williams. The band considered instituting a no-phones policy like Jack White, but ultimately they decided to go in exactly the opposite direction and launch an augmented reality app that will offer surprises Williams isn't revealing yet.

Will the band play any songs from The Joshua Tree, or is that album temporarily retired? No, it's not retired, says Williams — although legacy hits won't be as common as in most stadium show setlists. "When there's a point in the show for a classic song," he says, "there's kind of double the resonance, actually, because it doesn't feel like you're just trotting it out."

The Experience + Innocence Tour kicks off Wednesday in Tulsa, and may run into 2019. After that, says Williams, an Achtung Baby tour isn't off the table. (Rolling Stone)

Jim Gordon denied parole

Jim Gordon, drummer for Derek and the Dominoes and co-writer of the classic Eric Clapton song "Layla," has been imprisoned since being convicted of killing his own mother in 1983. A California court has just denied Gordon's tenth appeal for parole, with Gordon's family and even his own attorney asking the state not to release him.

"I think he would be a threat to himself if he were to be released," said Gordon's attorney. "I think he'd hurt somebody else."

At the height of his career, Gordon was one of pop music's leading session drummers, playing on iconic recordings including Nancy Sinatra’s "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" and Carly Simon’s "You're So Vain." After struggles with schizophrenia and substance abuse, he fell into a downward spiral that ended in the killing he says he was out of his mind for. (Billboard)

John Travolta gives Foo fans chills...they're multiplying!

Oh, those fun Foo Fighters. At a festival appearance this past weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, Dave Grohl and company played the Grease jam "You're the One That I Want." None other than John Travolta was there to make a brief onstage cameo, although he didn't dance or sing. They should have asked Juliana Hatfield to join in. (Billboard)


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