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POP MUSIC | Pop Eye

A Korn-Bizkit-Rage Tour Might Be Summer's Highlight

March 19, 2000|STEVE HOCHMAN

Better stock up on earplugs. It's shaping up to be a loud summer--especially if a tour putting the current top three hard-rock bands on a stadium bill comes together.

Plans are being floated for Korn, Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine to team up for outdoor stadium dates to top a season that already is expected to include the fourth year of Ozzy Osbourne's successful OzzFest package, the fifth edition of the trend-setting music/extreme sports hookup Warped Tour (with Green Day and NOFX topping the bill), and in the fall a third edition of the Korn-founded Family Values arena package. Another package of rising bands including Slipknot and Sevendust and featuring a body art theme is also being planned.

OzzFest, with its lineup still being set, is coming off a year in which it was among the leading box-office successes, including a show for 45,000 people at the Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion in Devore. But the Korn-Bizkit-Rage triple-header would probably raise the bar higher, with dates in key markets around the country projected to draw upward of 60,000 people. This comes at a time when stadium shows have become increasingly rare--among rock acts, only the Dave Matthews Band, with several stadium dates planned as part of a summer tour, is looking at that level at this point.

"It's one of the ideas we're poking at," confirms Jeff Kwatinetz, manager of both Korn and Bizkit. "It's early yet. Limp Bizkit has just started in the studio [recording its next album]. Rage hasn't gotten back to us. But I think the timing for this tour would be really good."

The idea certainly excites promoters.

"Right now it would be a home run, especially here in L.A., where all three acts are headliners" says Eric Herz, vice president of concerts for Avalon Attractions. He notes that in their last appearances, Korn sold out two nights at the Arrowhead Pond, Bizkit sold out one night there, and Rage sold out two nights at the Great Western Forum. "Put all three together and they could play any of the stadiums in the area. Even without Rage, they could play stadiums with a strong support act."

Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of concert business publication Pollstar, agrees that this could be one of the big attractions. The summer has a lot of superstar acts on the road--from Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync to Santana and Bruce Springsteen--but lacks special event packages now that Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair and H.O.R.D.E. have hung it up.

TATTOO YOU: And tattoo everybody else in the world as well. That's the notion behind another new entry in the hard-rock package tour circuit. Called Tattoo the Earth, the venture will combine hard-edged music--hot bands Slipknot and Sevendust are lined up so far--with body art "lifestyle" attractions, including tattoo parlors featuring some of the most respected skin artists in the world. Call it Warped with needles.

"I've been working on this for more than a year," says Scott Alderman, a tattoo aficionado and former New York jazz club owner who had the idea for the tour and is organizing it with booking agent Dave Kirby and Slipknot manager Steve Richards. "I've done a lot of research on it, went to 150 concerts last year all over the world. Tattoos and body art cut right to the zeitgeist of the rock culture."

Richards says that the tour will feature an arcade of "the craziest stuff known to man." Among the elements being discussed are a "freak booth" in which fans can be videotaped for 30 seconds doing anything they want.

"The sickest person on tape will win a grand prize yet to be determined," he says.

It sounds like a potential winner, say concert professionals, especially with stated plans to keep ticket prices low and hold the shows, when possible, in "alternative" settings such as fairgrounds and fields.

"Both Slipknot and Sevendust have good, growing followings, and so much in the market is not low-priced, and that's an issue with kids," says Pollstar's Bongiovanni. "And especially at alternative venues there's an appeal to kids--an aura of an event that's special for them."

SPACE ROCK: Forget cute animals and ancient myths. The subject of a coming animated film, Fox's high-profile "Titan A.E.," is life in a cold future with enslaved humans fighting for freedom from gruesome aliens. Needless to say, the music doesn't sound like a job for Elton John and Tim Rice.

Instead, Fox turned to Glen Ballard--best known as the producer of Alanis Morissette--who recruited a roster of acts to craft music appropriate to the story's arc from harsh oppression to liberation. Among them are Lit, Powerman 5000, the Urge, Texas and new acts Electrasy and Splashdown. All the music was written specifically for the story, with Ballard and the artists working from the script and film-in-progress.

"The idea was to get really contemporary, cutting-edge music in here, not just go out and take five songs from five acts--become part of the tapestry of the whole picture," says Ballard, who will release the soundtrack album via his Capitol-distributed Java Records this summer. The film will premiere in June.

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