Quick Hits: Against Me!, Whitney Houston, The Voice, Beastie Boys, Jimmy Fallon, Firefly Festival, Stevie Wonder
May 9, 2012
In a surprising announcement Tuesday night, Against Me! singer/guitarist/founder Tom Gabel announced via Rolling Stone that he is transgender and will begin living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace. Gabel told Rolling Stone, which will print an extensive interview with the Punk rocker in its new issue this Friday, that she will remain married to his wife Heather. "For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news," says Gabel. "But she's been super-amazing and understanding." The couple have a two year old daughter. Gabel revealed she has dealt privately with gender dysphoria for years and will soon begin taking hormones and undergoing electrolysis treatments. Fans immediately noted the lyric from "The Ocean," the track that closes Against Me!'s 2007 album The Ocean, in which Gabel sang, "If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura." Against Me! has been working on a new album and will kick off a new tour in San Diego on May 25, opening up for The Cult ona majority of the dates.
VH1 has confirmed the next edition of its VH1 Divas specials will celebrate the music of Whitney Houston. The special will be recorded in Los Angeles this December, according to Billboard, but no artists have been confirmed yet. Houston performed as part of three VH1 Divas specials over the years. "We all felt that if any show could pay tribute to Whitney's music, it would be 'Divas,'" VH1 president Tom Calderone tells Billboard. "December felt like enough time where it wouldn't be sad anymore, you'd want to celebrate her music."
R&B singer Jermaine Paul was crowned the winner of the second season of NBC's singing competition show The Voice. Paul was on Country star Blake Shelton's team and was considered a surprise upset winner on the show. Paul was previously a backup singer for Alicia Keys and has sung on records by a number of other acts.
An ill-timed lawsuit against the Beastie Boys' camp has come to light, as the Rap trio was sued last week over samples from two of their earliest albums the day before the death of Adam "MCA" Yauch. AllHipHop reports the label Tuf America sued the Beasties over unauthorized samples of the group Trouble Funk on Licensed To Ill and Paul's Boutique.
Late Night host Jimmy Fallon will release his second comedy album, Blow Your Pants Off, on June 12 and has lined up an all-star roster of celebrity cameos. Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews are among the special guests who lend their voices to Blow Your Pants Off. The record is primarily a collection of musical comedy bits and parodies from Fallon's NBC show.
Silversun Pickups are among the latest additions to the three-day Firefly Music Festival, set for June 20-22 in Dover, DE. Fitz and the Tantrums, Minnesota indie rockers Polica and Bassnectar have also been added to the festival lineup.
The 2012 Billboard Music Awards will honor Stevie Wonder with its Billboard Icon Award. The music legend will be celebrated as part of the annual awards show, which airs live on ABC on May 20.