For many college-radio and music-industry personnel, it's time to break out the fall jackets, earplugs, aspirin and business cards, because the annual CMJ Music Marathon is rolling out in New York again.
From October 30 to November 2, 900 artists will permeate the Big Apple with shows in more than 50 venues as part of the 2002 incarnation of one of the largest and longest-running music festivals. Mash-up maestros 2 Many DJ's, NYC "it"-sters the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Swedish exports the Soundtrack of Our Lives are among the must-see highlights, with Jurassic 5, Box Car Racer, the Chemical Brothers and Sigur Rós also due to turn in performances. Most shows are open to the public.
This year's marathon is not without its sense of humor, as comedic performances by David Cross, supporting his double-disc comedy album Shut Up You F---king Baby!, and puppet pooch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, perhaps providing a glimpse at his forthcoming Come Poop With Me, are also scheduled.
Concerts are only half of the CMJ Music Marathon. Panel discussions on topics ranging from copyright protection and sampling to Internet radio, label consolidation and the rise of the New York rock scene take place each afternoon at the Hilton New York hotel. A Q&A session with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, conducted by rock scribe Dave Marsh, and an intimate discussion with Tori Amos are among the key talks.
Other artists slated to perform include Ben Kweller, the Polyphonic Spree, Radio 4, Medeski Martin and Wood, Bright Eyes, Thursday, the Moldy Peaches, Simian, (International) Noise Conspiracy, Pretty Girls Make Graves and Imperial Teen.
Although the kickoff is more than a week away, the event has already been met with its first flare-up. Ipecac Records, the independent label co-owned by former Faith No More singer and all-around eccentric Mike Patton, was forced to cancel a sold-out party and showcase on October 31 because its venue, the Roxy, was double-booked with a performance by DJ Carl Cox. Attempts to find another home for Skeleton Key, Isis, Tomahawk and Fantômas Melvins Big Band — the latter two groups include Patton — proved fruitless, and the show was called off.
"We started this label three and a half years ago as a way to operate differently than what is the norm in the music industry, to be artist friendly and fan friendly," Patton said in a statement. "This show was a celebration of what we have built in such a short period of time, a vindication of our goals. Now we stand here apologizing, looking like fools, yet we did nothing wrong."
Clear Channel Communications, which originally booked the Ipecac show at Irving Plaza and then moved it to the larger Roxy due to the high level of demand, has filed suit against the venue, seeking reimbursement and unspecified damages, according to an Ipecac spokesperson.
The Carl Cox show, which is not part of the festival, is going ahead as scheduled.
A complete list of performers and panels can be found at the CMJ Web site.