December 8, 2008

Christie Hefner to depart Playboy

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Before the start of trading, Playboy said that Hefner will stay on as CEO until Jan. 31 and remain on the board until a replacement is found. In the meantime, the company said it has appointed Jerome Kern, a long-time director, to be interim non-executive chairman.

In the announcement, Hefner said that "just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well" but gave no other specific reasons for her departure.

She leaves as the company remains mired in the loss column, stung by charges and dwindling revenue across almost all of its divisions.

Media companies have been hit hard in the current recession, and those like Playboy have not been exempted. Skittish advertisers often cut their ad budgets first, while consumers can find a plethora of free adult fare online and have become increasingly reluctant to pay for it.

The stock has also suffered, scraping to an all-time low of $1.03 just weeks ago after trading just shy of $10 at this time last year. On Monday, however, it jumped more than 11% to $1.95 in morning action.

Still, Kern said that during Hefner's time at the company, she oversaw its "transition from a domestic magazine publisher to a global lifestyle and multi-media company," directing its entry into TV, online and mobile offerings.

"Under her leadership, the licensing group grew from insignificance to become the company's most profitable business," Kern said.

For his part, Christie Hefner's father Hugh said he asked his daughter to "step up as president when the company faced serious financial difficulties more than two decades ago," and that as the result of her efforts, "the company today has more consumers and fans than at any time in our history."

Source: Market Watch

My Chemical Romance

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My Chemical Romance (often shortened to MCR or My Chem) is an American rock band formed in 2001 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The current members of the band are Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero, Ray Toro and Bob Bryar. Shortly after forming, the band signed to Eyeball Records and released their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in 2002. They signed with Reprise Records the next year and released their major label debut Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge in 2004. The album was a commercial success, selling over one million copies. The band followed this success with 2006's The Black Parade, featuring their hit singles, "Welcome to the Black Parade", "Famous Last Words", "I Don't Love You", and "Teenagers". The band also filmed a live DVD in Mexico City, which was released on July 1, 2008.[3]

Background

Early career (2001–2002)

The band was formed by frontman Gerard Way and drummer Matt Pelissier approximately one week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Witnessing the planes crash into the World Trade Center influenced Way's life to the extent that he decided to start a band.[4] Way wrote the song "Skylines and Turnstiles" to express his feelings about September 11th. Shortly thereafter, Ray Toro was called up and asked to join the band because at the time Way couldn't sing and play the guitar at the same time.[5] The first recording sessions were done in Pelissier's attic, where the songs "Our Lady of Sorrows" (formerly called "Bring More Knives") and "Cubicles" were recorded. Frank Iero revealed that the band finished the lyrics to "Best Day Ever" moments before they arrived at the studio to begin recording. The band refers to those sessions as The Attic Demos. Mikey Way, the younger brother of Gerard, loved the demo so much that he decided to join the band after dropping out of college.

My Chemical Romance signed with Eyeball Records, where Pencey Prep and Thursday recorded. While with Eyeball Records the band met Frank Iero, the lead vocalist and guitarist for Pencey Prep. After Pencey Prep broke up in 2001-02, Frank joined My Chemical Romance, just days before the band's debut album was recorded.[5] Three months after the formation of the band they recorded their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, subsequently released in 2002 on Eyeball Records. Despite only joining the band a few days before the album recording sessions began, Iero played guitar on two of the tracks, "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville," and the other being "Demolition Lovers." During this time, the band was booked at the infamous venue, Big Daddy's, where they began to receive mainstream attention.[6][7]

My Chemical Romance offered free downloads through PureVolume[8] and the social networking site MySpace, where they gained an initial fan base.[9]

Breakthrough (2003–2006)

In 2003, the band signed a deal with Reprise Records. Following a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, the band began work on their second album, entitled Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Released in 2004, the album went platinum within a year. The band released four singles from the album: "Thank You for the Venom", "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Helena" and "The Ghost of You". It was during this time that the band replaced Matt Pelissier with Bob Bryar, after they came back from Japan in July 2004.

At the start of 2005, the band toured on the first ever Taste of Chaos tour, and was also the opening act for Green Day on the American Idiot tour. During the summer, they co-headlined the Warped Tour 2005 with Fall Out Boy. Later that year, My Chemical Romance co-headlined and headlined their tour with Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect around the US. That same year, My Chemical Romance collaborated with The Used for a cover of the Queen and David Bowie classic, "Under Pressure" that was released as a benefit single on iTunes and other Internet outlets.

On March 21, 2006, a 2 DVD/1 CD set entitled Life on the Murder Scene was released. It included one DVD chronicling the band's history, and a second DVD with music videos, the making of their videos, and a couple of live performances. An unauthorized biography DVD Things That Make You Go MMM! was also released on June 27, 2006. The DVD does not actually feature any My Chemical Romance music clips or performances, but contains interviews with those who knew the band before much of their fame.[10]

The band started recording their third studio album on April 10, 2006 with Rob Cavallo, producer of many of Green Day's albums.[11][12] It was originally thought to be titled The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance, but in an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Gerard Way suggested this was just the album's working title, stating "It was never the title of the album, more a spoof, or joke."[13] On August 3, 2006, the band finished shooting the videos for their first two singles from the album, "Welcome to the Black Parade" and "Famous Last Words", which was released on January 22, 2007.[14] The video was directed by Sam Bayer, director of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day's American Idiot videos.[15] During the shoot for "Famous Last Words", band members Gerard Way and Bob Bryar were injured. Way suffered torn ligaments in his ankle, and Bryar a burn to the leg which caused a severe staph infection that needed constant monitoring in hospital. Consequently, the band was forced to cancel a few tour dates. While these injuries were reported by several news agencies to have been the result of a car accident, a statement released by the band on their website and MySpace page confirmed that these injuries occurred on the set of the video.[16]

The Black Parade (2006–2007)

A biography titled Something Incredible This Way Comes was released, written by Paul Stenning (Published in 2006). It features their beginnings, right through to The Black Parade. On August 22, 2006, the band played a special one-off show at the 1800-capacity London Hammersmith Palais. The show sold out in 15 minutes prompting tickets being sold on eBay well over the tickets' face value. The name of the album they promoted was announced and 20 people dressed in black capes with their faces obscured paraded around Hammersmith, followed by a large group of fans and street team members with signs saying "The Black Parade". Later during the show the album title and the UK release date were confirmed. Prior to the band taking the stage it was announced that My Chemical Romance were unable to play, but they would be replaced by "The Black Parade". After initial crowd hostility it became clear the band were simply performing under a pseudonym in keeping with the theme of the album.

"Welcome to the Black Parade" was released as a single on September 11, 2006 on iTunes. On September 26, 2006, the music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" was released in the UK, and on September 27 in the US.[13]

"Welcome to the Black Parade" reached number one on October 15, 2006, on the UK Singles Chart, giving them their first number one. The Black Parade was released on October 23, 2006 in the United Kingdom and on October 24, 2006 in the United States.

The Black Parade World Tour started on February 22, 2007, with Rise Against, Thursday and Muse as support acts.[17] Reggie and the Full Effect frontman James Dewees played keyboards/synth on the tour.

My Chemical Romance received mixed accolades. In Kerrang! magazine, issue 1138, My Chemical Romance won the following categories in the 2006 poll: Best Band, Worst Band, Best Album (The Black Parade), Worst Album (The Black Parade), Best Track ("Welcome to the Black Parade"), Best Video ("Welcome to the Black Parade"), Best Live Show, Best Thing about 2006, Worst Thing about 2006, Hero of 2006 (Gerard Way), Villain of 2006 (Gerard Way), and Sexiest Male (Gerard Way). Strangely, Gerard Way also finished third in the Sexiest Female category. Also, in issue 1139, Kerrang! rated The Black Parade as the 4th Greatest Album of 2006. In Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of the top 50 albums of 2006, The Black Parade was voted the 20th best album of the year. My Chemical Romance won the award for "Best International Band" at the 2007 NME Awards. Gerard also won the "Hero of the Year" award.[18]

On April 19, 2007, it was announced that Mikey Way would temporarily leave My Chemical Romance's 2007 tour to spend time with his new wife, Alicia Simmons-Way. Mikey's temporary replacement was Matt Cortez, a friend of the band.[19]

During the third leg of The Black Parade World Tour as a support act for Muse, members of My Chemical Romance band and crew and members of Muse’s crew suffered food poisoning, and consequently had to cancel six shows.[20] My Chemical Romance was a part of Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour in 2007,[21] along with, Placebo, Mindless Self Indulgence, Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, HIM, and Linkin Park.

Four original recordings from The Black Parade were featured on the Xbox 360 release of Guitar Hero II. "Dead!" was added to the song list in-game, and as of August 14, 2007 three more tracks were made available via bulk download from the Xbox Live Marketplace: "This is How I Disappear", "Teenagers", and "Famous Last Words". The My Chemical Romance Track Pack is available for 500 Microsoft Points.[22]

It was announced that My Chemical Romance will be on a headlining tour in Europe with Mindless Self Indulgence opening, starting in October 2007.[23]

Mikey returned to the band on October 4, 2007.

On November 15 it was reported that Frank Iero and Bob Bryar would be sitting out the UK tour dates, with Bob having wrist problems and Frank having to return home to be with his family due to the death of his grandmother, while guitar tech Matt Cortez replaced Frank, and Pete replaced Bob.[24]

My Chemical Romance was nominated for "Best Alternative Group" at the 2007 American Music Awards, along with Linkin Park and The White Stripes, but Linkin Park won the award. This award was not aired on television.

On December 19, 2007 EP Live and Rare was released in Japan. The EP features tracks from singles from The Black Parade.


The Future (2008)

In a recent NME interview, Gerard Way said the band's next record would be a rock album saying "I think (the next album) will definitely be stripped down. I think the band misses being a rock band."[25]

The band announced in a blog on their website that they would be going on a final tour in the USA before going to a break. At the same time, they announced they will be releasing a live DVD/CD collection titled The Black Parade Is Dead! which includes two concerts in October 2007, the final Black Parade Concert in Mexico, and a small show at Maxwell's in New Jersey. The DVD/CD was meant to be released on June 24 in the US and June 30 in the UK, but the date was postponed to July 1 due to a technical fault with the Mexico concert.[26]

In a popeater.com interview, Way has also stated that the next album will be "full of hate" and whilst it is early days yet, he has also said "Over the years that we've been hearing ourselves live and hearing us on records, we kind of prefer the live. There's more of a garage feel and more energy. I'd like to capture some of that, finally. That's the goal for the next one."

Musical style and influences

My Chemical Romance's music has been described by the media as "pop punk"[2] and "emo",[2][27][28][29][30][31] The band themselves described their music as simply "rock" or "violent, dangerous pop" on their official website,[32] as well as rejecting the term "emo" [33] to describe their style. Although a source quotes frontman Gerard Way stating that they are "What-else-ya-got-emo",[5] Way has recently stated in an interview that they were never emo, as he says emo is "a pile of shit." [34]

My Chemical Romance cite their main influences as Queen, Thursday, Iron Maiden, The Misfits, Morrissey/The Smiths[35] and the Beastie Boys.[36] Gerard Way has said, "We love bands like Queen, where it's huge and majestic, but also bands like Black Flag and the Misfits, who would go absolutely crazy."[37] Way has also said that his band patterns their career after that of The Smashing Pumpkins, another band they admire.[38] Geoff Rickly, the lead singer of Thursday, has compared My Chemical Romance to Ink & Dagger.[5] Growing up, they were also very influenced by horror films and comic books, and therefore their music, lyrics, and image all have overt elements of fantasy, storytelling, horror, and theatricality.

Criticism

Numerous artists in other bands have criticized the band openly in the media, Marilyn Manson among them; rumors circulated for some time that he wrote the song "Mutilation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery" as an attack on the band for his Eat Me, Drink Me release (which he later denied, saying that it was aimed at bands in general seeking to imitate him). In another interview Manson stated that "I'm embarrassed to be me because these people are doing a really sad, pitiful, shallow version of what I've done". In response to this, Gerard Way claimed nothing Manson could say would bring the band down.[39]

Gerard Way struck out against fans and bands that classify My Chemical Romance as "Emo", saying that; “I think emo is fucking garbage, it's bullshit. I think there's bands that unfortunately get lumped in with that are considered emo and by default that starts to make us emo.” and, "I think emo's a pile of shit.” This caused much outcry from fans and critics alike.[40]

The 'emo scene', specifically My Chemical Romance, was criticised by the coroner at the inquest into the death by hanging of a girl from Maidstone, Kent in the United Kingdom named Hannah Bond. The coroner expressed concern that they glamorized suicide and her apparent obsession with the band was said to be linked to her suicide.[41] The inquest heard that Hannah had been part of a "self-harming cult" and had said she wanted to join other suicide victims in the "black parade".[42] Supporters of emo music contacted NME to defend accusations that emo promotes suicide.[43] In response, fans had planned to march across London in protest against the depiction of the band in the media. The march was expected to be held on May 31, begin at Hyde Park's West Pond and end outside offices of The Daily Mail. The Daily Mail widely criticized My Chemical Romance and has run general pieces about the dangers of 'suicide cults'. The march has been expected to attract 500 to 1000 protesters according to the organizers.[44][45] After concerns by police, the march was called off and instead about 100 fans congregated at Marble Arch.[46]

The Daily Mail defended its position saying its coverage was 'balanced, and restrained' and 'in the public interest' and they were reporting genuine concerns raised by the coroner at the inquest and claim that their coverage of the incident has been misrepresented and confused with rumour. They state that their coverage of the coroner's remarks and the parents' comments was in common with that of other newspapers, and point to their publishing of readers letters defending the band and positive reviews of the band's albums and tours.[47]

Tours

My Chemical Romance has been touring for many years, and has a reputation for sold-out shows, including the Vans Warped tour in their earlier career, amongst others. They have toured with many well-known bands, such as Fall Out Boy, The Used, Thursday, Green Day, and others.

Warped Tour '05

The 11th Annual Vans Warped tour featured My Chemical Romance on the Main Stage, along with The Offspring, Fall Out Boy, The All American Rejects, and 84 other bands including the likes of Atreyu, Good Charlotte, Saosin and many more. "For a lot of kids, it's the one thing they look forward to all year," said Gerard Way. "They save up for it. They get to see all the bands they like in one shot." [48] My Chemical Romance's set list included mostly songs from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.

My Chemical Romance Tour

Following the 2005's summer Warped Tour, the band opened their first headlining tour. The tour launched September 15 in Ohio, stopping at 30 locations in the U.S., to promote their album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Supporting were Alkaline Trio, and Reggie & The Full Effect. The tour was the beginnings of the heavy theatrics My Chemical Romance have played around with in their concerts, Gerard Way expressed his plans for the tour in an interview with MTV, "We'd talked about bringing out dancers for our headlining tour in the fall, but it's a big undertaking; you have to have a bus full of dancers. We've always wanted to do a big theatrical tour. But you have to do it in steps,"[49]. The use of theatrics was evident in their future headlining tour, The Black Parade World Tour.

Projekt Revolution '07

The band joined headliners Linkin Park on Projekt Revolution 2007, starting on July 25 and ending on September 3 in Colorado.[50] The band played a one-hour set on center stage, opening with "This Is How I Disappear", as flames burst behind the band. The set ended with "Cancer", occasionally with falling confetti, and fireworks.

Frontman Gerard Way has stated that it had been the best tour the band has ever been on. This tour is worth mentioning, as a stream of controversial events occurred, including the infamous kiss Gerard Way and Frank Iero shared during a performance of "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison" in San Bernardino on July 28.[citation needed] My Chemical Romance has announced that following the Projekt Revolution tour they will be opening for Bon Jovi in October, and depart for a European Tour, with Mindless Self Indulgence supporting.

US Tour

Before their break, My Chemical Romance went on a tour with Drive By and Billy Talent, where Taking Back Sunday replaced Billy Talent for the last two shows of the tour, starting in Philadelphia and ending with their sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. After that, they are taking an extended break before they start their next record, which is thought to be released by 2009.[26]

Band members

Former members

  • Matt Pelissier - drums (2001 - 2004)

Live members

Discography

Studio albums

Live albums

Awards and nominations

Nominations


Source: Wikipedia

Beautiful Clouds

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