Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: Hoping Against Hope That These Things Don’t Happen At The 2011 VMAs

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

No lie, I haven’t missed a live viewing of the MTV Video Music Awards in 21 years. In college, when our dormitory only carried three television stations, I even managed to squat out the TV-set in student union for four consecutive years.

As someone who takes their VMA’s very seriously, here are three things I’m hoping will not happen this Sunday night:

1) We Don’t Lose Power in NYC
Not only am I missing two of my favorite shows for the VMA’s this Sunday night—Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad—but I’m hoping to keep my VMA streak intact by actually getting to watch them live. If Hurricane Irene hits NYC hard on Sunday, electricity may be at a minimum, which would even negate a DVR viewing of the VMA’s. Yes, MTV will re-air the show, but I want to see it before it’s edited down into a TV-friendly, two-hour chunk.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Pitbull Was Trying To Keep Lindsay Lohan “Relevant,” Not Degrade Her, By Referencing Her In “Give Me Everything”

Now that Lindsay Lohan has become an uninsurable pariah in Hollywood, which has all but destroyed her ability to earn income through acting, she is now forced to rely on the legal system to generate the revenue it takes to maintain her lifestyle. To wit, she successfully sued E-Trade for calling her a “milkaholic” (Ed. Note—Our legal system is in severe need of an overhaul), she’s suing the jewelry company that she stole a necklace from, and now she’s suing music superstar Pitbull! The freckled felon filed suit against Pitbull (real name: Armando Christian Pérezin) in New York for defamation, among other things, for mentioning her name “without compensation” in his runaway chart-topper “Give Me Everything.”

Normally, defense lawyers tell their clients to keep their lips publicly zipped when it comes to matters like this, but the always dapper club sensation took to his website, PlanetPit.com, to tell his side of the story. He admits that when he first heard news of the lawsuit, he thought “it was very ironic,” but once he understood the severity of the allegations, he changed his tune. Pitbull claims the whole thing is just a misunderstanding over misheard and misinterpreted lyrics. “I didn’t look to defame, hurt or degrade someone else’s career,” he tells an off-camera honey. Rather, he explains that he was just attempting to keep her “relevant” and, furthermore, it’s considered a compliment to be “locked down” where he comes from. We’re not sure where you stand on this, but after watching Pitbull’s faux deposition, we’re officially on Team Pit on this one.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive Video: Gavin DeGraw Checks In After His “Little Incident”

It has been fourteen days since Gavin DeGraw was hospitalized after being assaulted by a group of men in New York City’s East Village. VH1′s August Posted artist reached out to us last week to let us know that he was recovering, and as a follow-up, he just sent us this video message from Columbia, Maryland, which was recorded yesterday. DeGraw got back on stage yesterday for the first time since his awful assault, an event that he refers to in this video as “my little incident.” He’s currently on tour with Train and Maroon 5, and it’s great to see him fully recovered and back in high spirits.

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by (@unclegrambo)

“Pumped Up Kicks” Has Officially Captured The Zeitgeist, As Demonstrated By Vinny From Jersey Shore

Last week, ‘influential’ music blogger Carles of Hipster Runoff fame coined a new term to describe songs that “you’d imagine a group of suburban girls driving around suburbia blasting while they pour vodka into their Sonic slushies.” He (somewhat derisively) categorized songs like “Kids” by MGMT, “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit, “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn And John and “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People as “bubblegum indie,” going as far as to break down their common traits as follows: “Vocal FX on some cool sounding voice. Sweet ‘dancey’ bassline. Synthiness. Whistling.”

NPR’s Ann Powers veered in a slightly different direction in her essay on “Pumped Up Kicks” yesterday, describing it as the “ideal summer song for a crash-and-bounce year.” However, she also made sure to call attention to reference Foster The People’s lead singer and songwriter Mark Foster‘s background as an advertising jingle writer and insistence on working whistling into his Song Of The Summer contender (“Because these days there is always whistling,” she sagely notes).

Though these two writers took different tacts at getting there, each acknowledged that Foster The People’s bouncy anthem has officially crossed over from the “indie” world and into the mainstream. This is further evidenced by the video you see above, in which Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore fame dances to “Pumped Up Kicks” with a coterie of adorable moppets in his living room. (We also noted that it was used to score a scene in the Fright Night remake that hit theaters last week, too.) We knew that when we selected the band as a You Oughta Know artist back in June that they were headed for big things, but we had no idea that they would get this big, this quick. At this point, only one question remains: Will the band be able to build on the success of this smash hit with a second single off this record, or will the band veer off into one-hit wonder status? Regardless of that outcome, there’s no denying that “Pumped Up Kicks” has captured the zeitgeist during the summer of 2011.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Is Joe Jonas Singing About Dumping Taylor Swift In “See No More”?

Joe Jonas would be incredibly happy if his career followed the same trajectory as Justin Timberlake‘s. Both started out as cogs in the Disney machine, then followed that up with successful stints in boy bands. Timberlake, as we know, was able to parlay his early stardom into a wildly successful solo career, and now Joe Jonas is trying to do the same. In an attempt to gain a new audience, he’s played in front of a bunch of egg-throwing hipsters in Williamsburg and buddied up to Jimmy Fallon, but what he really needs to break through is a hit song, preferably one with a juicy tabloid angle, à la Justin’s cool and calculated Britney takedown, “Cry Me A River.”

Jonas’ first single off his forthcoming Fast Life LP, “See No More,” stiffed; it peaked at #92 in the Billboard Hot 100. However, the single was just released in the UK last week, and the British press inquired as to whether it was directed at his ex, Taylor Swift. You may recall that Jonas dumped Swift during a 20-second phone call in 2008, an event which the heartbroken Swift eventually chronicled in the song “Forever & Always” (“Was I out of line? Did I say something way too honest / That made you run and hide like a scared little boy?”).

After listening to “See No More,” we can’t imagine why anyone would think this song about a “cold” girl who “threw it all away” is directed at the Swift (especially considering Jonas already dissed T-Swizzle on the Jonas Brothers track “Much Better”). That didn’t stop London’s press-hungry Metro from asking the question, though, which Joe flatly denied. “No, that’s not about her,” he tersely stated. “When I write songs I don’t say who they are about because I don’t want the audience to relate to what was going on with me when I wrote it. You say one thing and it becomes a big rumor.” Much to the (likely) chagrin of his publicity team charged with generating interest in his solo career, it appears that this case is closed.

Joe Jonas: I Didn’t Write a Song About Dumping Taylor Swift [US Weekly]

by (@unclegrambo)

Last Lap: Lil Wayne Threatens To Kidnap Beyonce, Inception Star Covers Nirvana, And More

LIL WAYNE SPRINGS A LEAK, THREATENS TO KIDNAP BEYONCÉ
Where’s the beef? On Lil Wayne’s just-leaked Tha Carter IV, that’s where! According to Blackbook, Weezy’s new track “It’s Good” features this bar directed towards Jay-Z: “Talkin’ ‘bout baby money, I got your baby money/Kidnap your b****, Get that ‘how much you love your lady?” This is apparently in retaliation to a verse that Jay sung on “H.A.M.” that dissed Young Money. First Game disses Jay, now Wayne? Sh*t’s about to get real, son! [Blackbook]

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT PAYS HOMAGE TO KURT COBAIN
The 20th anniversary of Nevermind is just around the corner, so Nirvana-mania is clearly in bloom (drum roll). At a concert in Seattle last night, the Inception star played a cover of “Lithium,” which he punctuated with this off-the-cuff dedication: “You know it seems like everytime people bring up Nirvana, people wanna talk about how Kurt Cobain killed himself. But I gotta say, it doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter that he’s dead, it doesn’t matter how he died, his songs are f***ing awesome, that’s what matters.” [Everybody Loves Our Town]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Quakin’ – Songs To Help You Cope With Today’s Eastern Seaboard Earthquake

If you were anywhere on the Eastern seaboard in the last hour or so, you no doubt felt the effect of an earthquake that registered 5.9 on the Richter Scale. Here in Times Square at VH1 HQ, we felt the building sway and bounce uncomfortably for a good five or six seconds. Everyone seems to be okay, if a bit freaked out.

In order to help you (and us!) calm down on this hectic afternoon, we just created the following playlist of earthquake-themed songs for all you Spotify users out there:
Quakin’ – Songs To Help You Cope With The 2011 New York City Earthquake

(If you’re not on Spotify, this room on Turntable.fm also just cropped up: Earthquake 2K11.)

Full playlist for you after the jump:

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by (@unclegrambo)

The Simpsons Are Going Gaga This Fall

What do famously reclusive author Thomas Pynchon, wheelchair-bound theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and beer-drinking third baseman Wade Boggs have in common? No, not a penchant for harrassing flight attendants; rather, each have guest-starred on The Simpsons at one point or another during the show’s 22 seasons. Now you can add world famous pop star, video vanguard and wearer of raw meat Lady Gaga to that list.

EW.com is reporting that the Mother Monster herself is set to appear on The Simpsons this season in an episode called “Lisa Goes Gaga” (air date still TBD). The logline reads as such: “In ‘Lisa Goes Gaga,’ the singer makes a pit stop in Springfield after learning that it’s teeming with low self-esteem, and winds up trying to cheer up a dejected Lisa through the power of speech, song, and a flash mob.” Apparently, the episode will also see Gaga and Marge kiss, which will not be Marge’s first same sex smooch.

Meanwhile, the real takeaway from this photo is this: While Stefani Germanotta may indeed be committed to her character of Lady Gaga, she is most certainly not a Method actor.

Lady Gaga to guest on ‘The Simpsons’ — EXCLUSIVE PHOTO [EW.com]

[Photo: Fox via EW.com]

by (@unclegrambo)

A New Layer Of Intrigue Surrounds Jani Lane’s Death After Revelation Of Mysterious Handwritten Note On His Person

Jani Lane was found dead at a Los Angeles area motel earlier this month at the age of 47, and most chalked up the death to years of hard living and substance abuse. However, as The Dude famously proclaimed in The Big Lebowski, “new sh*t has come to light.”

TMZ is reporting today that the former lead singer of eighties glam metal band Warrant was found with a handwritten note stating “I am Jani Lane” on his person, a note that also contained the phone number of an as yet unnamed acquaintance of Lane’s. It also appears that the room at the Woodland Hills Comfort Inn in which Lane’s body was discovered was not purchased by Lane, either. It is unclear at this time whether the person who reserved the room was the same person whose contact information was found on the note.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Amy Winehouse Toxicology Report Shocker: “No Illegal Drugs In Her System” (Allegedly)

When Amy Winehouse passed away last month at the age of just 27, virtually everyone assumed that a drug overdose was the cause of her sudden death. Rumors of a relapse, fueled by first-hand statements and a disastrous performance in Belgrade, raced through the British tabloids and made headlines around the world. However, through a spokesperson, Winehouse’s family just released a statement that claims that toxicology reports show that no illegal drugs were found in her body at the time of her death.

The statement, per the Daily Mail, reads as follows:

“Toxicology results returned to the Winehouse family by authorities have confirmed that there were no illegal substances in Amy’s system at the time of her death.

Results indicate that alcohol was present but it cannot be determined as yet if it played a role in her death.

The family would like to thank the police and coroner for their continuing thorough investigations and for keeping them informed throughout the process.

They await the outcome of the inquest in October.”

This seems to raise just as many questions as it answers: If there were indeed no illegal drugs present in her system, exactly what was it that caused her death at the tender age of 27? Was her death a result of alcohol poisoning and, perhaps, prescription drugs? Had years of heavy drug abuse just taken their toll on her system? Or was it some weird quirk of fate that caused her to tragically become the latest member of the infamous 27 Club?

It is important to note that the toxicology reports have yet to be officially issued by London law enforcement, and that the statement above came solely from her family. Regardless of the veracity of these reports, we will continue to keep you abreast on developments in this sad story as they come to light.

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): TMZ reached out to Scotland Yard in an attempt to gain more insight on this matter. A rep told them that “the law enforcement agency has not yet received a copy of the toxicology results from the coroner.” Hmmm, this story is getting fishier by the minute.

APNewsBreak: No illegal drugs in Winehouse death [AP]

[Photo: Getty Images]