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Sing Us a Song

Aging piano man Billy Joel pleads for AC/DC's mercy

by and

Teenpop Torture

June 12, 2005

New York -- TIME has obtained the first documented look inside the highly classified realm of military interrogations since the Gitmo Camp at Guantanamo Bay opened. The document is a secret 84-page interrogation log that details the interrogation of 'Detainee 063' at Guantanamo Bay. It is a remarkable look into the range of techniques and methods used for the interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani. [....]

Al-Qahtani's resilience under pressure in the fall of 2002 led top officials at Gitmo to petition Washington for more muscular "counter resistance strategies." On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved 16 of 19 stronger coercive methods. [....] The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music. --

June 22, 2005

St. Louis -- B-Sides has obtained the first documented look at the Christina Aguilera playlist that was used to torture Detainee 063. The document is approximately half a page long and contains selections mainly culled from Aguilera's eponymous debut album and her most recent studio work, Stripped. It seems that after tracks such as "Come on Over (All I Want Is You)," "What A Girl Wants" and "Dirrty" failed to elicit information from an obviously pained Al-Qahtani, officials petitioned Rumsfeld for more muscular "Aguilera exasperation strategies." Rumsfeld approved four of seven stronger coercive tunes but said that forcing the prisoner to view photos of Aguilera's Maxim magazine photo shoot -- in which she poses in a pool with only an inner-tube to cover her ferret-like figure -- would fall outside Geneva Convention standards relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.

Though her duet with Ricky Martin, "Nobody Wants to be Lonely," caused 063 to beg for a swift bludgeoning and "Ven Conmigo (Solamente Tu)" -- the Spanish-language version of "Come on Over" -- prompted him to renounce Islam, it wasn't until "The Christmas Song (Holiday Remix)" that the prisoner finally cracked. He proceeded to reveal the true reason he conspired to attack America: Fear that a solo album by Xtina -- Aguilera's "darker" alter ego -- was in the works. -- Ben Westhoff

Electric Avenue

Ask trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas why he keeps forming so many different bands, and he gets analogical.

"There are millions of ways of saying 'I love you,' but every day you have to find a new way to say it again," says the New Jersey native, whose 21 CDs as a leader since 1993 and hundreds more recorded appearances as a sideman have marked him as one of the most prolific jazz musicians to emerge in the '90s.

Douglas, known also for his longtime membership in John Zorn's Masada, has used his own groups -- such as the Tiny Bell Trio, Parallel Worlds, Charms of the Night Sky and Sanctuary -- to explore various aspects of his musical personality. For his first-ever performance in St. Louis, he is bringing his Quintet, an ensemble that reinterprets and advances the sound and sensibility of the newly-electrified jazz of the late-'60s and early-'70s.

"One of my favorite periods was the early '70s, when people were adding electric keyboards to their bands," Douglas says. "But there's a misconception there. Most people think that's all about Miles Davis. He's obviously one of my heroes, and a lot of what we do in this band was influenced by him. But during that same time, Cannonball Adderley had a band with Joe Zawinul on electric piano, Lee Morgan had George Cables, Joe Henderson had a group, and there were many more."

Like in these groups, the use of electric piano -- specifically, the Fender Rhodes -- instead of acoustic piano is one of the Quintet's defining characteristics.

"I had a conception of how I wanted this band to sound, and the Fender Rhodes was part of that," Douglas explains. "It has a certain sustain that acoustic piano doesn't have, and it can double the bass to fill out the sound and make it richer. It also gives you certain textural possibilities that you don't have with acoustic piano."

The Quintet's festival set will include material from its 2002 disc The Infinite and 2004's Strange Liberation, as well as some new compositions intended for the group's next album, to be released in 2006. Bassist James Genus and drummer Clarence Penn performed on both recordings, and they'll be in St. Louis with Douglas.

But pianist Uri Caine, who usually handles keyboard duties, was unavailable for this date, so David Berkman, a Rhodes specialist and old friend of Douglas' from Brooklyn, will fill in. And there's another new member as well: Donny McCaslin now handles the saxophone duties once performed by Chris Potter, who parted amicably with Douglas after getting too busy with his own projects.

"When I found Donny, I found somebody who not only fills those shoes, but takes it to another place," says Douglas. "He has amazing facility, but even more important, he plays with a lot of heart and really gets inside the music.

"The way we work is very personal. I look for musicians to find their own thing to say from tune to tune. We're always playing with forms and structures in a way that may surprise people. I want to take a listener's ears, someone who knows something about the music, and twist it for them in a new way." -- Dean C. Minderman

Billy Joel makes a desperate request of AC/DC. Read the whole thing, in handy PDF form, here.

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