Not Necessarily the News: Zippers, Grand Funk And More...

A Simple Nut To Crack: While Squirrel Nut Zippers drummer Chris Phillips didn't quite get off scot free for his drunken driving charge of last May 18, he did find a relatively painless way to fulfill his community service. Big stretch, having the Zippers play a free show for their hometown of Carrboro, N.C. Phillips had already been planning the Sept. 19 event before he realized that it would meet his legal obligation, according to an Associated Press report. The drummer was sentenced in August to pay a $100 fine, receive counseling and be subject to restricted driving privileges, in addition to completing 24 hours of community service.

Grand Funk Derailed: All right, All right, it's all for a good cause, but can anybody out there stifle a groan at the prospect of Grand Funk Railroad's 2-CD Bosnia (Oct. 21)? Reuniting the band's original trio after more than two decades apart , the 20-song set features guest spots from David Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer, conducting the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra, Peter Frampton and Alto Reed, saxophonist for Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band. Yeah, a portion of proceeds go to the Bosnian-American Relief Fund, but couldn't we just send a check of something?

Sax, Laws And The Big Man: Former Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons, a.k.a. "The Big Man," avoided a legal battle over charges that he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend last December by opting instead to undertake counseling, donate $1,000 to charity and write a letter of apology to Sharlene Smalley. The Los Angeles Times reports that Clemons began counseling on Sept. 22, and is required to check in with the program that arranged the counseling agreement once a month for a year. The "Not-So-Big-Anymore, Now-Are-Ya? Man" was alleged to have pushed Smalley to the ground, thrown her into a wall, and kicked and punched her during a Dec. 6, 1996 argument at a friend's house in Florida's Upper Keys.

Slash's A Pinball Wizard?: Quick, when you think pinball, what names come to mind? Uh, like say, Slash? But of course. Since his former band, Guns N' Roses, have their very own barroom game with the requisite scantily-clad, big-breasted women, the butt-dangling guitarist is one of several celebrities popping up on a one-hour DirecTV documentary on pinball, called History of Pinball, that begins airing Saturday (Sept. 27). Joining the unlikely Slash are other celebrities who sport their own machines and fans of the silver ball, White Sox slugger Frank Thomas and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. Surprise revelation? Slash helped design the GN'R machine himself. Get out.

Mike And The Moronics: Attention! Attention! A band masquerading as former prog-rockers-turned-cuddly-puppet-message-song-balladeers Genesis have released an "album" called Calling All Stations with some guy named Ray Wilson on vocals. Soon these impostors, who sound suspiciously like guitarist Mike Rutherford's lightweight side project, Mike & the Mechanics on a serious handful of Mandrax, will be launching an American tour. "Send me to the Congo. I'm free to leave," whines Wilson on the band's single "Congo." Dude, the plane awaits you. -- P. R. Flack [Sat., Sept. 27, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]