It's bad enough that my favorite group, The Rolling Stones, got bashed by some pipsqueak named Neal Pollack in The New York Times last Sunday.
Now it seems that the boys are having trouble selling tickets to their big 40 Licks Bi-Annual Going Away Tour.
According to papers I received the other day, as of Sept. 1 the Stones have just three sold-out dates from Sept. 3-Feb. 1, 2003. Those dates were for Chicago this past Monday; New York's Madison Square Garden on Sept 26; and Los Angeles on Halloween night.
Otherwise, tickets are available everywhere, especially at the top-tier price of $320-$370 -- certainly an unreasonably high amount to charge in places like Columbus, Tacoma and San Antonio. During a bad economy, fans are probably not sympathetic to a group of old men who party in Mustique and travel all over the world partying first class.
To test this theory, I was able to reserve eight tickets for Comiskey Park for tomorrow night at $350 per ticket through Ticketmaster. I was also able to reserve eight tickets in Section B for $300 apiece in Philadelphia on Sept. 18, eight more top tickets in Detroit and eight tickets in Columbus.
The Stones aren't doing themselves any favors at those ridiculous prices without a hit single or a current new album. Pollack's snide piece in the Times really offended me, but maybe someone of his generation has a point. Mick Jagger recently hired a powerhouse PR company in London to air out his image as a skanky 60-year-old inseminator of twenty-something models. Obviously this didn't work for Pollack and it's not working for a lot of other fans as well.
On the upside of Rolling Stones news, the new CDs from Allen Klein's ABKCO Records -- all remastered classics -- are just terrific. I was sent a compilation for reviewers only along with a fresh edition of Hot Rocks, the greatest hits album. But I also toddled into my local record shop, braved the pounding awfulness of the sound system blaring something current, and picked up Beggar's Banquet. What a delight to hear "Street Fighting Man" all remixed and punchy. I don't know how much Klein actually pays the Stones after all these years, but as usual ABKCO -- which also owns and reissues Sam Cooke -- has done a splendid job.
It's not for nothing that one of my favorite actresses, Aida Turturro, got her part as Janice Soprano.
Aida and Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, go back a long way before the show.
James worked with Aida for several days before her audition for The Sopranos, a source told me the other night, to ensure that she'd get the part.
But now that's she had it since Season Two, could there be any other Janice? No way.
The two actors met on the 1994 film Angie starring Geena Davis and became best friends. They also appeared together in the 1998 film Fallen. So when the time came to find Gandolfini's sister for The Sopranos, he knew there was only one actress for the job.
Now the pair will get together again to shoot a musical for the Coen Brothers, based on a screenplay by Aida's cousin John Turturro.
Meantime, a survey of Gandolfini's family at last week's Sopranos premiere turned up interesting results on his late marriage to ex-wife Marcy. Now that Mr. G. is happily showing off his girlfriend, the family is not wasting time telling strangers how they felt about Marcy. Said one: "We didn't like her. No one did. He's much better off without her."
In fact, Gandolfini -- who has never been comfortable with the press or in public -- now seems a lot more at ease. He actually smiles and seems happy. His fellow actors approve too. "This girl is great," said at least two of them of his new girlfriend. Well, whatever makes the Godfather happy.
More Sopranos news: Did you know that Gandolfini's high school classmate in New Jersey was none other than Karen "Duff" Duffy of MTV and Revlon fame? The beauteous author and model should be a character on the show. And don't fret that Peter Bogdanovich, who plays Dr. Melfi's shrink, is only in two episodes this season. I'm told he plays a big part in the final season and that there will be big plot turns for Melfi, played by Lorraine Bracco ... And don't miss Joey Pantoliano's funny autobiography, Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy, which has just hit the stores from Hyperion books.
The name of Whitney Houston's new album, which will hit stores on Nov. 5, is Just Whitney ... Not very exciting, but certainly less vitriolic than "Whatchulookinat," the single she released this summer that no one wanted to hear. According to sources, much of the album was played for BMG sales reps at a conference in Florida last week "and they all went wild." I'll bet they did, because unless Whitney pulls a Lauryn Hill almost anything she releases will sell like crazy. If Arista Records is smart, by the way, they'll leave "Whatchulookinat" off the album and make it a collector's item ...
Kudos to our sister publication, The New York Post. Their commemorative pullout color section on Sept. 11, which was actually published on Sept. 10, was excellent and impressive. It was the talk of my local coffee shop, the famous Joe Jr's. The color pictures were terrific and very evocative with great layout and writing. Nicely done!