News Roundup: Modest Mouse/Heath Ledger, Them Crooked Vultures, Live Nation, Billy Lee Riley


–The long-shelved video for Modest Mouse’s “King Rat,” directed by Heath Ledger before he died, premiered yesterday. The video imagines a world with a talking sun where whales commandeer ships and hunt, kill, and skin humans. No worries, though: profits from the video will go to environmental organization the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The video hits iTunes August 7th and coincides with the release of the Modest Mouse’s new leftovers (but still great) EP, No One’s First, And You’re Next.

–A new supergroup has emerged, and it is a supergroup. Them Crooked Vultures features QOTSA’s Josh Homme on guitar, Foo Fighers’ Dave Grohl on drums, and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass. The band plays a Lollapolooza aftershow gig August 9th at Chicago’s Metro. Grohl had been trying to get the project together for years, telling Mojo in 2005 that it “wouldn’t suck.”

–Live Nation continues its summer No Service Fees Wednesday’s promotion today, and for the first time it will slash service charges for club shows. In New York, that includes Irving Plaza, Roseland Ballroom, and the Gramercy Theatre. The promotion is good, according to Live Nation’s press release, for over “1,500 shows nationwide.” Certain people are thrilled.

–A sad day in the world of classic rockabilly. Sun Records artist Billy Lee Riley passed away Sunday at age 75. The cause was colon cancer. Riley grew up in Pocahontas, Arkansas, the son of a sharecropper. He’s best known for 1956 tracks “Flyin’ Saucers Rock and Roll” and “Red Hot.” While “Red Hot” was on its way up the charts, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips pulled promotion to fund “Great Balls of Fire” by a then-little-known Jerry Lee Lewis. Riley’s career was never the same, but he continued to perform late in life. The A.V. Club posted a video of Riley performing “Red Hot” in 2005, still gettin’ it done.

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