The Police to Perform Surprise Gig at 2007 Grammys

The Police | Courtney Love | Oscars | Isaac Hayes | Soap Stars Get the Axe

The Police to Perform Surprise Gig at 2007 Grammys

It's all over the Canadian papers, and broke the news late Friday about something I've known for a couple of weeks: The Police are secretly rehearsing in Vancouver for a major, as-yet-unannounced appearance on the 2007 Grammy Awards.

It's true, although there is no official word. But when CBS' live signal goes to the Staples Center on Feb. 11, director Ken Ehrlich will have scored a coup: The Police will appear and sing most likely one of three songs: "Every Breath You Take," "Message in a Bottle" or "Roxanne."

And — surprise of surprises — this should guarantee an announcement forthcoming of a huge North American tour, followed by dates in Europe, all beginning in late spring.

But the group will not, I repeat will not, appear at either the Coachella or Glastonbury festivals. There have been rumors to that effect, but my sources say they are untrue.

What is curious about this is all the excitement. It should be very encouraging to Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland that, after 25 years, news of their reunion is causing a stir. It's possible that the renewed Police on tour would be the highest-grossing road show of all time, surpassing The Rolling Stones and even Paul McCartney's recent top-selling tours.

The big questions now are: Who will open for The Police, and will it be one group or many divided among different regions? Names being bandied about are The Fray, Evanescence and even Virgin's The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. But don't be surprised if Fiction Plane, the hot group piloted by Sting's son Joe Sumner, gets a slot or two as well.

As for the Grammys, opening with The Police is a brilliant move, and should energize a show that has some obstacles.

For one thing, both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen wound up in the folk category this year instead of Album of the Year. For the first time, we may see that folk category televised if only to get two of music's heroes on screen.

Courtney Love's New Album Could Be a Masterpiece

You didn't think we'd heard the last of Courtney Love, did you? Not a chance. She has had a wild life with many tabloid ups and downs, but Courtney is a keeper.

She has just signed with Hollywood's hot management company, The Firm, to represent her for the sale of her new album.

As yet untitled, this album — which I've played about four times this weekend — could be judged a masterpiece when it finally finds a label and a release date.

It's Courtney's "Broken English" (Marianne Faithful), "Horses" (Patti Smith) and "Hotel California" (The Eagles) all rolled into one.

Personally, I would suggest calling the CD "Nobody's Daughter" after my favorite song on the disc, a thoughtful dismissal of Love's self-aggrandizing mother.

But there are plenty of wonderful tracks to choose from, all produced and co-written with Linda Perry, the genius writer-producer from 4 Non Blondes who put Pink and Christina Aguilera on the map.

For one thing, this album is not a rant. It's a vivid meditation on fame, on Courtney's personal battles and on life in the fast lane that almost turned into her funeral.

Perry makes sure to keep the screeching to nil and emphasizes Courtney's clever, witty and scathing lyrics counterpointed by her husky intonations. Success in any art is chemistry, and here the formula works like crazy.

Watch for Courtney to make a huge comeback this summer when the album is released. She is clean and sober, she has turned into a good mother and she has exorcised the demons that plagued her — to a degree. We wouldn't want rockers without demons, after all.

But this album, with California-centric songs like "PCH" and "Sunset Marquis" threatening to turn her into the new millennium rock version of Joan Didion, should turn out to be a watershed for both her and Perry.


'Little Miss Sunshine' May Flood Oscars

After last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards, "Little Miss Sunshine" is looking more and more like an Oscar winner.

It's not definitive. Last year, "Crash" won the SAG Award for Best Cast and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Prior winners of the SAG Award that went on to the Oscar include "Chicago" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

There have been exceptions to the rule, however. "Sideways" and "Gosford Park" each picked up Best Ensemble Cast awards from SAG but lost the Academy Award to other movies. The SAGs are good but not infallible indicators.

Given that, "The Departed," which should win the Oscar, is full of disparate pieces, it's very likely that Academy voters, many of whom overlap with SAG, will still give Martin Scorsese's film Best Picture.

The film most hurt by the SAG award last night was "Babel." This was its chance. If the voting members of the Screen Actors Guild didn't mobilize for it, it's likely that the film won't have the heat necessary to go all the way.

Otherwise, SAG Awards went to the four actors who have pretty much won everything else this season: Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. They are all likely Oscar winners this year. They might all work on better acceptance speeches, however. Boredom looks like it's setting in.

The SAG show was smooth and quick; you can't ask for more. And it was nice that they asked Annette Bening to give the final award. I cannot think of an actress in Hollywood whose talents have been more squandered lately. Her performance in "Running With Scissors" was top notch, but the movie was a stiff. Bening deserves better, and her own gold statue to boot.

'Shaft' Is Back

Kudos to Isaac Hayes. The great writer-producer-performer was back in form on Saturday night at B.B. King's, one year after suffering a debilitating stroke that caused him some career trouble. While Isaac was recuperating and unable to speak, the Church of Scientology "resigned him" from "South Park" and denied he had had the stroke. It was ugly.

On Saturday, Hayes bravely tackled two shows. I saw the late one, and he didn't disappoint. After telling the audience that he had "health challenges" last year and had been in rehab, Isaac let loose with "Shaft," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Walk on By," "I Stand Accused" and all his jazz-soul inflected hits from the 1970s with great ease. It was an impressive showing.

Along with Dick Clark, who continues to improve from his stroke and make TV appearances, Isaac is an inspiration to anyone who has suffered from this calamitous "brain attack."

Satisfactory recovery is possible, and they are the proof of it. Watch for Isaac to release a new album in the next year or so, on the revitalized Stax Records, now owned by Norman Lear's Concord Records.

Batter Up for Soap Star

ABC Daytime is in full kamikaze mode now, firing veteran actors left and right. First it was Julia Barr from "All My Children" and Stuart Damon from "General Hospital."

But this week on "AMC," Dixie Martin — played by Cady McClain, who can't be more than 40 and has been on and off the show for two decades, eats poisoned pancakes and meets her demise.

Apparently McClain had criticized ABC in her blog for their treatment of colleague Barr. Whoops! That was a no-no of the highest degree.

Click here to read McClain's blog.

Soaps are all headed to cable over the next decade anyway, but this seems like an extremely egregious way to eat humble pie — literally or figuratively. McClain will survive, but Aunt Jemima probably will drop their ads.