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Smash Mouth

SMASH Mouth (named after Mike Ditka's term "smash mouth football") was formed in San Jose, Calif., in 1994 when boyhood friends and former band compadres Steve Harwell (vocals) and Kevin Coleman (drums) recruited Greg Camp (guitar) from a local cover band. Camp then persuaded Paul De Lisle (bass), with whom he'd played in another outfit, to take a chance on the new band.

After toiling for a couple of years on the San Jose scene, Smash Mouth caught fire when area radio station KOME started spinning what would be their breakthrough: "Nervous In The Alley" (Smash Mouth were the first unsigned band to receive regular rotation on the influential Modem Rock outlet). Soon thereafter, the quartet inked a deal with Interscope Records, which released their debut, Fush Yu Mang, in 1997.

Smash Mouth supported the album with extensive touring, including jaunts with Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind and Blur, among others. Buoyed by these road efforts, the #1 radio success of "Walkin' On The Sun" and a cover of War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" (not to mention a couple of heavily rotated videos), Fush Yu... bum-rushed the Top 20 and racked up double platinum sales.

The band built on their success with a rendition of? and the Mysterians' "Can't Get Enough of You Baby," which made its debut on the soundtrack to "Can't Hardly Wait." The cut is also included on Smash Mouth's latest opus, Astro Lounge.

Produced by Eric Valentine, who sat behind the boards for Fush Yu..., Astro Lounge was introduced by the radio track "All Star," which began rocketing up Modern Rock charts in May of 1999 (it entered the Top 5 of Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks before the month was out). "All Star" was also slated to be the first single and video from the soundtrack to "The Mystery Men."

Says principal songwriter Greg Camp of the tune that seemed likely to make Smash Mouth superstars: "That's sort of our 'Everybody is a Star.' It basically says, 'Don't get down on yourself - with a little bit of spring in your stride, you can do whatever you want.'" Camp is also quick to expound on another Astro Lounge standout, the more pointed "Radio." "It's kind of about our love/hate relationship with radio and the people who have power over it," he confides. "They can really stomp on you if they don't like you. They love you when you're on top - they all want to talk to you. But when you're not... It's something we didn't realize until "Walkin'on the Sun" started dying down and we got called 'one-hit wonders'. We don't take ourselves totally seriously, but we do want people to know we actually work really hard at doing this, and sometimes the ups and downs can be tough to roll with."

s u n b e a m

A Promising Name On The Bangladesh Pop Scene

By Tishma

Effervescent, impulsive, and armed with a pleasantly ingenuous air of charmingly unbridled amiability, Sunbeam, with his inherently sunny demeanour and innate candour, is refreshingly untarnished, at least if mere surface appearances are to be relied on, by the been-there-done-that, jaded quality that tends to saturate the disposition of most new-kid-on-the-block, just-hit-the-big-time-recently artists experiencing their first taste of stardom.

While Pahela Baishakh this year (or, 14th April 2003) may have witnessed the launch of Ekla Prohor, the Sunbeam's debut solo effort, the promising artist has actually been toying with taking tentative steps on the scene for quite a while already. It may come as a surprise that Sunbeam has recorded about sixty songs to date, out of which about thirty-two songs have been released on albums. His debut recording first saw the light of day in 1999, in the 'mixed' (compilation) album 'Dekha Hobe Bondhu'. Since then, there has been no looking back for the artiste. He followed up by contributing to a whopping eight further mixed albums, namely Maya (2000), Shimato Biswas Koro (2000), Bawanno Bajar Teppann Goli (2001), Bojhini Kadabe (2001), Star Plus (2001), Dekha Hobe Dujone (2002), Bondhu Re (2002), Harano Biggopti (2002), and presumably his most massive hit yet, Chumki Choleche Eka (2003).

By the time Sunbeam's first album hit the shelves on 14th April 2003, Pahela Baishakh (Bengali New Year's), he had already achieved the position of having become a fairly familiar face, if not yet an established household name, among listeners. Sunbeam personally affirms, 'The results for my debut solo album were outstandingly satisfactory. The response was beyond my expectations. And I have to admit that there are very few or may be none who gets as much support from the media as I did.'

Besides vocalising, Sunbeam is a self-taught acoustic guitarist. 'I love to compose, write and sing songs created by myself,' he declares with his enthusiasm manifest. His favourite musical activity is composing tunes.

'My mother used to sing,' recounts Sunbeam, narrating the details of his journey into the world of music. 'I too was born with that gift. Initially I was just another music-lover who appreciated good music. I also participated in the usual school and college events, but I never thought that I would come this far. I was partly involved in some local bands… nothing worth mentioning. After college I came to Dhaka for graduation in the year 1995, and I came to meet some people that one could only dream of ever encountering. At first I was an ordinary fan of Jewel Bhai. But after I met him, things got better and we became more like a family, he has been a brother to me. Through him I met Bappa Majumder and his family. I gradually became a part of that family. I learnt a lot from my parents Mr. And Mrs. Barin Majumder, and my brothers Bappa and Partho Majumder; they all play a major role behind my success,' he reminisces affectionately, fondly referring to the family as his own blood-related kin.

'For my solo album, it was definitely not an easy job for me to arrange everything by myself,' he discloses, expounding on his experiences while recording his first solo effort. 'It took me four years to get this job done and finally have it released. It wouldn't have taken this long, but the reason it did is because the production companies wouldn't release my kind of songs. It took me a while to blend into the kind of music the production companies desired. But in the end I have managed to stick with my taste of music and yet have the album released with the commercial touch the company wanted.' He relates further, 'The first few songs of my career were initially intended to be released in my solo album, but unfortunately they have been released in the mixed albums "Dekha Hobe Bondhu" and "Star Plus". The songs were "Tumi Nei" for the album, "Dekha Hobe Bondhu", and "Obishwas Koro Na Amai" for the album, "Star Plus".'

'In our country for a solo artist, there is a tendency to get stuck to a certain category, to get stereotyped; the artist is not responsible for that, the surroundings are…For that reason, I decided to start with every possible way I could make a move on. In my solo album, there is folk, rock, soft rock, semi-classical music as well as techno. Most of the lyrics were meant to be contemplative and rather story-based, each with an individual background that made each song a distinctive one with its own particular identity. It required a lot of effort and time… In my album I have used a lot of acoustic instruments besides synthesised-based compositions. The song on the album appreciated the most highly by listeners is "Hridoi Kede Jai"- the semi-classical one.'

The very first of his musical influences that Sunbeam lists, very emphatically, is none other than his mother. 'She is the one who has always encouraged me to do my music, in every step of my life. Ayub Bacchu is one person who has made me feel that this is all that I would ever want to be.' Sunbeam holds his opportunity of having performed with LRB at the band's 12th Anniversary celebrations in high esteem. 'It was a matter of great honour for me to have participated in that particular concert, singing Shesh Chithi, one of the most popular songs in this country,' he elucidates.

'What I enjoy the most about my career as a singer is my music, appreciation of fans and most of all being a public figure. And an awesome feeling is what I get when I see renowned musicians and singers humming my songs. I love my fans. No matter however you put it, my achievement lies right in the listeners' appreciation. The respect I have gained through my music is my major achievement.'

When asked to describe any engaging post-stardom anecdotes, Sunbeam comments, 'There are many… Before my singing career I was treated like a normal guy in the neighbourhood, but over the last four years I have been hearing nice and interesting comments from people - like all of a sudden my "eyes" got more attractive to people!!! And not to mention other features! (Laughs). Now this is something that is really, really interesting to me!'

And in response to inquiries regarding any major difficulties or obstacles faced by him as an artist, he reacts, 'As I mentioned earlier it wasn't an easy job, from any perspective. Nowadays anyone with money can be a singer, but I wanted to be an artist, so it wasn't that easy.'
'I like to travel, read books, listen to music', says Sunbeam, elaborating on his hobbies. 'Basically I listen to almost everything, but I especially like rock. I also have this thing for Indian classic music; the matter would seem contradictory to many, but that's my personal taste. I like to swim just anywhere… I like to meet new people and make new friends. Although I don't get that much time to spend with my family, I definitely do love to do so. As for my academics, I have completed my MBA from AIUB, majoring in Marketing. Inshallah, I would be involved in some other profession other than music pretty soon, too. For me music is not a profession, it is my passion. I was being myself so far, so singing was just being me. I sing for myself, and so I will until I feel otherwise.'

He advises hopeful, aspiring musicians, 'There is no alternate to practice; practice makes a man perfect. If there is a particular type of music, then don't just try to ignore other types, try to learn to appreciate them, because every type of music make it a whole.' As for the people whose support, inspiration or contributions Sunbeam would like to acknowledge: 'I would like to thank MY MOTHER, Ayub Bacchu, Ibrar Tipu, Hasan Abid Jewel, Izaz Khan Swapon, Shafiq Tuhin, Bappa Majumdar and others…'

With an Indian-classical-style-honed voice that shines particularly resplendently on Ghazal-related tracks, such as, for instance, on the delightful track, Karo Karo Chok Theke, a song Sunbeam wrote and composed himself, Sunbeam's evident high confidence in his abilities and admirable quantity of faith in himself is well justified. This, coupled with his indefatigable, persevering attitude, steely-nerved determination, and ardent passion for music, leaves Sunbeam in possession of the formidable combination whose assistance it takes to join the ranks of the more seasoned artists he has learnt to admire so.

Torn 2.0

The 1982 film Tron may not hold up by today's standards, but it was a revelation for anyone who grew up during the video game boom of the early '80s. The movie was filled with vivid computer-generated graphics, and it put the lead character first in a real arcade and then in neon-lit cyberspace, where anthropomorphic "programs" faced off in video-game-style challenges. For young gamers, at the time, watching Tron was like dying and going to cinematic heaven. Tron gave birth to some fun games back in the day, and now Monolith brings you Tron 2.0 for the PC.

Tron 2.0 treads a fine line between cool and corny, and, also like the film, it often stumbles into the latter. Like the movie, the game also boasts a unique visual style. It is a fairly conventional and uneven shooter.

Tron 2.0 picks up where the film left off. After years of research, programmer Alan Bradley has finally managed to re-create the technology needed to digitize humans and send them into and out of the digital/virtual world. A big, bad corporate rival, Future Control Industries (or fCon) is after Bradley's research and is about to take over his company. When Bradley's AI creation, Ma3a, comes under attack and Bradley suddenly disappears, his son Jet must save the day. After Jet is conveniently digitized, it's off to the races in a thematic and visual retread of the film: Basically, red security programs menace Jet, lots of deadly discs get thrown about, a sexy female program helps our hero escape from the light cycle grid, and so on.

While staying true to the film, Monolith has ably fleshed out the world of Tron with new allies and enemies. Things are a little more complex than in the movie since there are multiple enemy factions to deal with now. You'll face off against the Intrusion Countermeasure Programs, or ICPs, who are like the red guards of the film. These ICPs aren't particularly bright or deadly, but they usually have numbers on their side. They're under the command of the militant program "Kernel". You'll also have to deal with finders, little sentinels that float around high-security areas and blast you with energy bolts.

Along with these security programs, you'll also have to face a whole other faction of enemies. They are led by the malevolent Thorne, who secretly sold the digitization technology to rival fCon and now acts as head of security for Bradley's company. To prove that the technology actually worked, he tried to digitize himself into the virtual world, but things went awry; he ended up corrupting his data and turning mad. Now a blight of data corruption cascades through the computer world, giving rise to enemies like the Z-lots and rector scripts.

While all these enemies sound diverse and interesting on paper, they leave something to be desired in practice. That's because, at heart, Tron 2.0 is a standard run-and-gun shooter with a neon patina. These strange-sounding digital enemies aren't really strange but turn out to be generic cannon fodder..

The famous glowing, Frisbee-style disc weapon from the movie reappears in a slightly different guise, but it's one of the game's surprising letdowns. It flies and returns to your hands so quickly that it feels more like some fancy machine gun than a specialized, graceful weapon.

The game features light RPG elements, so instead of leveling up, you "upgrade" your character by completing missions and picking up "build notes" that are scattered about the gameworld. You upgrade to version 2.0.0 and get to distribute extra stat points to a handful of abilities like "transfer_rate" (how fast you can pick up keys, power-ups, and the like). As the game progresses, you find, keep, and then upgrade a variety of subroutine power-ups. When installed, these grant you special abilities, like added damage, quieter movement, or higher jumping. You only get a limited number of free "memory blocks," so you need to decide which subroutines to install at any given time.





A Rush live CD/DVD "Rush in Rio" will be released on Oct. 21. The sets chronicle a Nov. 23, 2002, show at Rio's Maracana Stadium on the final night of Rush's Vapor Trails tour.

The "Rush in Rio" CD sports two bonus tracks recorded earlier in the tour: "Vital Signs," from 1981's "Moving Pictures," which has never appeared on a prior Rush live album; and "Between Sun & Moon," from 1993's "Counterparts," which made its concert debut on the trek. DVD bonus features include a documentary by Rush photographer Andrew Mac Naughtan, an animated clip for "By Tor & the Snow Dog," a recently discovered 1975 performance clip of "Anthem," two alternate angle clips of drummer Neil Peart's "O Baterista" solo number and multi-angle viewing options for "YYZ" and "La Villa Strangiato.” The DVD will be screened in Regal Theaters in more than 30 U.S. markets on Oct. 21. A full list of cities has yet to be announced.

Rush has been largely inactive since the end of the Vapor Trails tour, but regrouped in late July to play the massive Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto benefit concert.


Pop star John Mayer's previous album, the breakout set "Room for Squares," peaked at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 nearly two years after its release. Now armed with a Grammy Award, Mayer delivers a new album, "Heavier Things," which firmly establishes him as a legitimate albeit still puppy-eyedsinger/songwriter. While "Heavier Things" does not "scream at the top of my lungs" with commercial zingers like "Squares" track "No Such Thing," it does find Mayer delivering quietly charming musicianship and heartfelt lyrics. He layers his latest single, "Bigger Than My Body," with a jubilant guitar line and the sincere plea that someday he will "be so damn much more" than his current self. An ode to simple comforts, "Home Life" ironically recalls the score behind "American Beauty," while "Daughters" is a sweet lullaby to women many of which are likely to continue to swoon to Mayer's musings





















































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