Music News: 'SpongeBob SquarePants' creator Stephen Hillenburg dies at 57

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Stephen Hillenburg with his creation SpongeBob SquarePants in 2006.
Stephen Hillenburg with his creation SpongeBob SquarePants in 2006. (Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.


Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, has died of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 57. The show, which launched in 1999, quickly became a success, inspiring two feature films and landing four Emmys, among many other awards.

The show made music news in 2016 when a stage musical based on the show premiered to rave reviews. When it hit Broadway, the SpongeBob SquarePants musical got artists including David Bowie, Steven Tyler, the Flaming Lips, and They Might Be Giants one little step closer to an EGOT when it landed 12 Tony nominations. It won one, for Best Scenic Design of a Musical. (CNN)

Go-Go's Broadway musical to close

Head Over Heels, the Broadway musical featuring the music of the Go-Go's, will close on Jan. 6 after less than six months of performances. The musical, which used Go-Go's songs to tell a story from a 16th-century prose poem, earned mixed reviews: some liked the sheer weirdness, but others thought it was just plain bad. Commercially, the New York Times unambiguously calls it a "flop," with the producers likely to lose over $10 million of their investment.

Green Day reference somehow ends up on Mars

On Monday, the world cheered the successful arrival of NASA's InSight Mars Lander on the Red Planet. Shortly thereafter, Green Day claimed that the lander holds a chip reading "Green Day since 1986," the year of the group's founding. "Out of this world," the Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers tweeted. How, exactly, did the chip get on the lander? Why Green Day and not...say, any other artist? As of yet, reporters at Billboard haven't been able to get an answer. Still, fans were thrilled. One tweeted, "I like how you got on to mars before 30 seconds to mars did."

Unheard Kurt Cobain interview surfaces

A man named Roberto LoRusso has released the ten-minute audio of a previously unheard interview he conducted with Kurt Cobain in 1991, just four days before the release of Nevermind. Why sit on the audio for almost three decades? Because the interview was "objectively terrible by all journalistic standards," admits LoRusso, who was then a DJ at his college radio station in London, Ontario. "To Mr. Cobain's credit, he was remarkably patient and kind considering how not well-prepared I was."

The most notable passage in the interview comes near the end, when LoRusso asks Cobain about an unspecified previous interview in which, he says, Cobain said that white people shouldn't rap because they've ripped off black people for long enough.

In response, Cobain says, "I'm a fan of rap music but most of it is so misogynist that I can't even deal with it. I'm really not that much of a fan. I totally respect and love it because it's one of the only original forms of music that's been introduced. But the white man doing rap is just like watching a white man dance. We can't dance, we can't rap." (Rolling Stone)

Sesame Street Records to relaunch

Did you remember that Sesame Street once had a record label? Well, now it does again. Sesame Street Records are relaunching next year, with new music to be released digitally and on vinyl...but the most exciting part of the announcement, a vast trove of past releases and music from throughout the history of the show has already landed on streaming services.

Sesame Street premiered on PBS in 1969, and began releasing music the following year. In its original run, Sesame Street Records was in operation from 1974 to 1984. (Rolling Stone)

Metal band break up in epic fashion

What is it about metal bands that makes everything they do just so...extra? The Canadian metal band Witchrot just called it quits, and a note announcing the breakup is going viral. Band member Peter Turik wrote the note on the band's Facebook page, accompanied by a photo of a smashed guitar.

As Loudwire notes, the breakup post now has twice as many shares as the band's page has likes. Here's their self-titled EP, featuring songs like "Druid Smoke Part i (The Keeper)."

Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Roberto LoRusso: "My Embarrassing Interview with Kurt Cobain"
Nirvana: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Cookie Monster: "C is for Cookie"
Witchrot: "Druid Smoke Part i (The Keeper)"
"SpongeBob SquarePants Theme"


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