Unplugging: Musicians oppose SOPA/PIPA

This past week, artists took a step back from their music to pursue activities in film, party hosting, controversial bills and the federal court. More power to them!

Many websites like Google and Wikipedia went black this week as a way to oppose the controversial SOPA/PIPA bills. To boot, many artists jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of using the influence and power of their music to be heard by the government. Artists such as OK Go, Trent Reznor and Amanda Palmer, among others, signed a letter that went straight to Washington.

The letter addressed the numerous concerns that have arisen with the SOPA/PIPA bills, as millions of websites would be shut down due to copyright infringement if the bills do get passed.

The artists who generously offered support for the letter accentuated the public’s right to “free and open Internet.” With many senators having denounced the bills thus far, all is good for now, but only time will tell if Americans will maintain their right to free Internet.

Velvet Underground members Lou Reed and John Cale are putting aside their musical work to focus on their famous album artwork from their 1966 album, The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Reed and Cale are suing the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their commercial use of the legendary banana logo that was highly prevalent in pop art and rock and roll. Up until Warhol’s death in 1987, he was manager and producer to The Velvet Underground, and helped shape their public image. After his death, the foundation was created to carry on his influence and legacy, but as years have passed, Warhol’s famous artwork still has valuable commercial appeal.

Although the banana logo has previously been licensed for commercial use, Reed and Cale claim that in certain instances, such as with iPad cases and accessories, the banana logo was used without their consent. Reed and Cale believe the foundation’s use of the logo misleads fans into believing that the band endorses certain products and thus defames the logo that is “a symbol, truly an icon, of the Velvet Underground.”

Sigur Rós front man Jónsi will once again partner up with director Cameron Crowe to score a new comedy film in the works. The Icelandic musician has scored for Crowe in the past, with music contributions to Vanilla Sky and Crowe’s latest film, We Bought a Zoo. After a 6-year hiatus following Elizabethtown, Crowe is finally back and working hard. In just the past year, Crowe has released We Bought a Zoo, Pearl Jam Twenty and an Elton John/Leon Russell HBO documentary, The Union.

In addition to two upcoming albums, one with Haunted Graffiti and one in collaboration with R. Stevie Moore, Ariel Pink is producing a werewolf film.

Thus far, the werewolf film has the tentative title Bad Vibes and is yet another imminent release within the repertoire of Pink’s recent work. With Dave Gebroe as the director, Pink is trying his hand at a number of positions, serving as producer, scorer and actor.

For the film score, Pink plans on creating music to be played by a number of different bands, although the film story is centered on an elaborately conjured up band called Sunrise Majesty.

The “Godfather of Goth,” also known as Peter Murphy, is former Bauhaus member turned solo artist turned party host. This March, Sin City All Access Events and Peter Murphy will host a weekend-long even in Las Vegas from March 2- March 4. The event is highly exclusive, with fewer than 50 guests to partake in the weekend fun.

Murphy will host a welcome party Friday night, followed by a private 2-act concert in a mansion on Saturday night. After the concert, Murphy will give a brief Q & A before a high-class dinner. On Sunday, the weekend will end with a farewell brunch. In order to get into this event, you must be willing to place a bid higher than $3, 995. Only the top bidders will gain access to the exclusive weekend.

Unplugging in Brief:

Trent Reznor, Amanda Palmer, OK Go and Other Artists Cosign an Anti-SOPA/PIPA Open Letter – Artists are opposing the SOPA/PIPA bill by signing a letter to Washington, addressing the public’s right to free internet.

Velvet Underground Sues Warhol Foundation Over Use of Famous Banana Logo – The famed banana logo featured on the cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1966 album is making waves; band members suing over the commercial use of the symbol without their consent.

Jónsi to Score Upcoming Cameron Crowe Comedy – Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi is helping director Cameron Crowe out once again by scoring his upcoming comedy film.

Ariel Pink Has Two New Albums in the Works and A Movie About A Werewolf – Ariel Pink is very busy with a collaborative album, a new release with Haunted Graffiti, and also a new werewolf film where he serves as producer, scorer and actor.

Peter Murphy Announces Special Las Vegas Event The Miracula Sessions – Peter Murphy has turned from a solo artist to an event host, as he’s set to host an extravagant but highly exclusive weekend in Las Vegas this March.

* Lily Angelle, MXDWN