Sharp Notes November 27 2003

RISING DROPPED, DROPSONIC RISING: Last month we reported on the tiff that had erupted between former members of local band Film. One-time lead singer Michael Lee's new band, the Rising, had signed to Madonna's Maverick Records, while his former Film-mate Iain Bluett accused him of using Film's songs for his new band without giving proper credit to people who wrote those songs.

Well, all this is now somewhat moot, since Maverick has dropped the Rising. Label representatives did not provide a reason for letting the band go, and Lee could not be reached by press time. The band's first single, however, had been sent to radio stations in recent months and had failed to take hold immediately — more than enough evidence for most major labels that a band has no future.

Bluett and his other former bandmates are now out of whatever songwriting royalties they stood to earn had the Rising scored a hit with "So Alive," the former Film song (originally called "Q") that was to be the Rising's second single. Still, Bluett was happy to spread the word of the Rising's setback. And just for old time's sake, he's keeping up his website, www.therisingsucks.com, for now.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of another popular local band, Dropsonic, have brightened considerably due to an unlikely pairing between the classic-rocking quartet and Atlanta-based R&B/pop super-producer Dallas Austin. According to Austin's assistant, Juan Farmer, the producer has signed Dropsonic to his recently reactivated Rowdy Records, which in the early '90s introduced the world to the likes of Monica. This time around, Austin plans to give Rowdy a more eclectic rock orientation, and Dropsonic fits nicely into that picture. Austin and the band recently recorded 12 songs in Athens for an album to be released on Rowdy — in conjunction with a major-label distributor — in the first half of 2004.

SEASONAL GIVING Midtown club Smith's Olde Bar has kicked off its annual Bar Hunger food drive for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. From now through the end of December, the venue asks patrons to bring with them two cans of food (preferably high-protein foods) to donate — in addition to, not instead of, the ticket price — for admission to shows.

Local modern-rock act 7 Sharp 9 is planning a benefit of its own: During its two weekend shows at Hemingway's in Marietta, Nov. 28 and 29, the band will collect teddy bears and cash to donate to Egleston Children's Hospital. Group member Chris Butler's 2-month-old daughter is currently in Egleston's newborn intensive care unit.

And nonprofit community radio station, WRFG 89.3 FM, is collecting donations for its 11th annual Silent Auction fundraiser, to be held Dec. 7, 4-7 p.m., at the Trolley Barn in Inman Park. Anyone wishing to donate unique gifts, weekend getaways, services, art and antiques can contact Jo Ann Cooper at 404-523-5503.

CHART TRIVIA: Last week, OutKast had the No. 3 ("Hey Ya") and No. 5 ("I Like the Way You Move") singles on Billboard Hot 100 chart. The last time an act had two singles in the top five was TLC in April 1995, with "Creep" and "Red Light Special." Fellow ATLiens, OutKast's first-ever recorded appearance came on a TLC remix in 1992. Weird.

PHILLIPS' ARENAS: Glen Phillips (one n, two ls) is the former frontman of California's quirkily named Toad the Wet Sprocket, who now provides clever solo singer/songwriter fare and frequently plays in town at Smith's Olde Bar, where he's appearing this Tuesday, Dec. 2. Glenn Phillips (two ns, two ls) is a local veteran guitar virtuoso, a former member of the Hampton Grease Band and current member of the Supreme Court, who frequently plays solo guitar shows at the Red Light Cafe, where he's appearing this Friday, Nov. 28. Despite their talents, neither expects to ever headline Philips Arena (one l, one n).

AUGUSTA KNIGHT: Following the footsteps of Macon, which recently erected a statue of favorite son/soulman Otis Redding, the city of Augusta has announced plans to create a statue of its own legendary resident, James Brown. No word yet, however, on how the monument will depict Brown's government-engineered bull testicles.??