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B-Sides lays down the law with Criteria, contemplates potential rock-star deaths and plays a rousing game of Tic-Tac-DeVoe

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The laws of probability and rock tradition dictate that 2006, like every year before it since the creation of music, will not end without a notable death or two. Eventually, all our rock heroes end up in the Afterlife All-Star Band.

Those who went to the afterparty in 2005 — including Luther Vandross, Link Wray, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and R.L. Burnside — were mostly aged, disease-stricken or both, so rock eulogists only had to pull their obituaries from a file and fill in the dates. This year, B-Sides predicts Death will harvest some younger souls along with those oldsters who are running out of chances.

Toby Keith: No longer satisfied by writing fist-pumping war anthems, the country jingoist will enlist in the army so he can personally put a boot up the ass of...well, someone. He'll promptly be killed by an Iraqi who recognizes the singer's voice from "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," the song played during his terrifying interrogation.

Michael Jackson: Every day brings more pathetic news about the fallen King of Pop. Now he's reportedly bankrupt and hiding in Bahrain, gulping painkillers and tranquilizers by the handful. There's a good chance he goes to the real Neverland this year.

Courtney Love: The violence-prone Nirvana widow was released early from her umpteenth drug-rehab program last month and is back on the streets again. The long-awaited Kurt and Courtney reunion tour may be scheduled for 2006.

David Crosby: After his 2004 weapons-and-pot arrest, you can't help but wonder how long his eleven-year-old replacement liver will hold out.

B.B. King: The string-bending blues ambassador is 80 and diabetic, a combination of age and ailment that bodes ill for the Beale Street Blues Boy King.

Conor Oberst: The pretentious Bright Eyes howler will be found facedown in a puddle of rock-critic drool. The Omaha medical examiner's office will declare the cause of death to be an intentional overhype brought about by chronic exposure to Bob Dylan comparisons.

Eminem: Fresh out of rehab for addiction to sleep medication, the rapper announced on a Detroit radio station his recent reconciliation with ex-wife Kim Mathers. Remarrying the woman who inspired his most heartfelt murder-fantasy songs might just be the worst possible way to begin the long road to sobriety.

James Brown: The 72-year-old funk-and-soul pioneer has been treated for prostate cancer after 50 years of hard living and even harder working. How much longer before he gives it up and turns it loose?

R. Kelly: After 2005's "Sex Weed," the accused kiddie-porn enthusiast and urophiliac will realize he has completely exhausted his supply of double entendres and reach for his Beretta one last time, thus sparing the world from "Trapped in the Closet" parts 13-24.

Law & Order

Stephen Pedersen is really tall. He's also been in Cursive and the White Octave, and he now fronts Omaha's best rock band, Criteria. Oh, and in a move we're sure gave his student-loan office a coronary, he quit his job as a trial lawyer last year to support the band's stellar Saddle Creek debut, When We Break, full-time. We've got no objections with that.

B-Sides: So what do you think the biggest difference is between your two lines of work?

Stephen Pedersen: The biggest difference is probably the hours. When I'm on tour there's only about a half-hour of real work a night. As a lawyer, I work between ten and twelve.

And you probably have to get up earlier.

[Laughs] I did, but there's not as much travel time as a lawyer.

Are you still practicing law?

Yes, casually, for a couple of bands.

Hypothetically, if you were disbarred, would you no longer be allowed in bars and have to only play all-ages venues?

[Laughs] Did you really write that down?


Uh, precisely.

On your single "Preventing the World," you talk about "irrational urges." What's the difference between that and a rational urge, exactly?

An irrational urge is the desire to do something that makes no rational sense. Like, let's say you dive into a pool and sink to the bottom. The rational urge would be to swim back up and come for air; the irrational urge would be to stay at the bottom.

OK, so if I tell you some urges, can you tell me if they're irrational or rational?


Going to the bathroom.



Hmm. That's a tough one. I think for some people it's rational; for others, not that rational.

Watching a King of Queens marathon.

Irrational. [Laughs]

OK, that's all I've got.

Can I change my last one to "rational"?

Criteria at the Creepy Crawl, 412 North Tucker Boulevard. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 13. Tickets are $8 to $10; call 314-421-9333 for more information.

Tic Tac DeVoe

To celebrate the Body and Soul tour — which features, among others, Bell Biv DeVoe, Blackstreet and Johnny Gill — we present Tic Tac DeVoe. Think of it as New Jack sudoku. Just answer the questions below about what these '90s R&B superstars have been up to since their heyday to reveal a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of Bell, Biv and DeVoe. We've even given you the center square for free. If you answer all eight questions correctly, well, you would have won tickets — but then we figured that if you know all this stuff, you were probably first in line when they went on sale.

The Body and Soul Tour at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard. Show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 14. Tickets are $45 to $55; call 314-534-1678 for more information.


1) Michael "Biv" Bivins
2) Blackstreet
3) Ronnie DeVoe
4) Johnny Gill
5) Michael "Biv" Bivins
6) Ricky Bell
7) Ricky Bell
8) Blackstreet's Teddy Riley

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