By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
If anyone happened to catch MTV's Total Request Live last week (whoooo!), then you might have seen Corn Mo, doing what only Corn Mo can. Apparently, on Monday, as Corn Mo (Jon Cunningham to his parents and anyone who doesn't feel like using his stage name) was bringing home his accordion from the repair shop, a producer for MTV stopped him. The network was scavenging the streets for more people to fill out the compulsory crowd shots (whoooo!) that have been a TRL staple since MTV opened its studio overlooking Times Square. Specifically, they needed someone to participate in some sort of talent contest, which, from the looks of it, didn't actually require much talent on the part of its contestants.
Except for Corn Mo: He impressed both Carson Daly (who is to personality as Friends is to black actors) and Dave Holmes with his familiar rendition of Gn'F'nR's "Sweet Child O' Mine." (If only fellow Brooklyn and erstwhile Dooms U.K. member John Freeman had happened along; they could have done their crowd-favorite version of Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike," with Corn Mo as Chris Cornell and Freeman as Eddie Vedder.) Didn't catch who won the contest, but Corn Mo did play again after the next break, so draw your own conclusion.
So impressed were Daly and Holmes that Corn Mo was invited back the next day, when Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst was there looking for prospective new members of the band following guitarist Wes Borland's departure from the group last year. (Ladies and gentlemen, the new smartest man alive, Wes Borland. Well, maybe not: He was in Limp Bizkit in the first place.) The setup was one of those oh-so-genius MTV ideas: Get a bunch of people with "weird" instruments--clarinet, accordion, etc.--to do versions of Limp Bizkit, um, tunes. Once again, Corn Mo did not disappoint, pulling off a better-than-it-ever-was version of Limp's "Rollin'" and making it sound like an actual song in the process. Which is one of the many reasons we miss him around these parts.
From what we hear, though, we'll get a chance to hear Corn Mo in Dallas fairly soon. And not just Corn Mo: Word is, The Dooms U.K. will get together to play their first show in we can't remember how long sometime in March. No word on the venue or even the day--all we've heard so far is "some Friday in March." But we'll let you know as soon as we do. Finally, at long last, Heather will have two mommies again...
When we talked to The D.O.C. late last year, he was excited about the prospect of releasing Deuce, his first album in years (since 1996's Helter Skelter). But he was just as eager to unveil the new crew of D-FW rappers he'd signed to his Silverback Records label, among them, 6Two, Uptight, El Doradoand Cadillac Seville. Now that Deuce is making its way into stores--you should be able to find it this week or next--you can hear why. The disc--which D.O.C. refers to as "happy, go-get-drunk, fuck-a-bitch music"--features appearances by his former N.W.A. cohorts Dr. Dre, MC Renand Ice Cube, as well as guest shots by Nate Dogg, Xzibit and Kurupt. Yet while the mini-N.W.A. reunion (D.O.C. worked on their Straight Outta Compton disc, as well as Eazy-E's Eazy Duz It) is the publicity hook, the real draw is the verses dropped by the locals. (Soul sister N'Dambi shows up on one cut, "All in the Family.") 6Two, especially, pulls his weight; the Silverback folks say he's "reminiscent of a young Snoop Dogg with the Southern drawl of OutKast's Andre 3000," and they're not far off.
D.O.C. likes to call Deuce the real follow-up to 1989's still-classic debut, No One Can Do It Better, the album he would have made had a car accident not left him with a crushed larynx and a side-tracked career. With all the up-and-coming talent he has on board, you could also refer to it as his version of The Chronic, the disc where Dr. Dre unleashed Snoop Dogg and The Dogg Pound onto the hip-hop scene. If it gets half as much attention, D.O.C. and Silverback will have accomplished their mission: putting D-FW hip-hop on the map. Here's hoping...
Sorta is gearing up to record its first full-length, which the group is hoping will be available in September on Summer Break Records, the label that released the band's Plays for Lovers EP toward the end of last year. Bassist Danny Baylis says the band's sound has been changing, as piano-organ player Carter Albrecht has been playing more guitar recently. Not only that, but their new rehearsal space (drummer Scott Randall's house near White Rock Lake) has forced the group "to play softer, focusing on the quieter dynamics of rock and roll," Baylis says. You can hear for yourself, should some of the new tunes pop up in the set list, when Sorta headlines February 15 at the Hard Rock Café, along with Sparrows and Tweed. Or you can just drive around Randall's neighborhood...