LOOSE ENDS: Not to be outdone by music-making progeny like Dweezil Zappa or the Nelsons (the two sons of Ricky Nelson), Mickey Rooney Jr. is currently in the studio making a country-pop album for producer Denny Cordell. . . . Mr. Mister singer Richard Page co-wrote the lyrics to and sings on a song on the upcoming Weather Update album--but the collaboration would never have happened if Weather Update leader Joe Zawinul didn't have a son who's fond of pop music. Page, a longtime jazz fan, called Zawinul some time ago to offer his services, but the jazzman had never heard Mr. Mister and had no idea who the caller was. Sometime later, though, Page got a call from Zawinul, who said he'd heard from his son that Mr. Mister was a big group and Page a good singer, so "Shadow in Light" resulted. . . .
One of the most intriguing new pop-music distribution deals comes from Warner/Elektra/Atlantic, which has just picked up the New Directions record label, an offshoot of the Island Records-run Antilles label. With the deal, WEA has taken on the distribution of a label as eclectic and eccentric as any in the country: New Directions' first batch of releases include LPs by a modern classical composer, Samuel Zyman; a jazz trumpeter, Jeff Beal; an experimental rock/jazz power trio, Power Tools; Latin percussionists Daniel Ponce and Helcio Milito; and English progressive rockers Startled Insects. . . .
And Brian Wilson, the reclusive, eccentric genius who piloted the Beach Boys in their mid-1960s glory days, has written a new song whose title conjures up memories of those innocent times of surf, sun, bikinied beauties and the California dream. It's called "California Barbie."