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Oppression Rock

We speak out against democracy, worry about Snoop and let Team Tomato give themselves a hand

It is with great hesitance that we direct you to www.fairstlouis.com, where you and all your friends, in true democratic fashion, can vote for the musical acts at this summer's Fair St. Louis. Because for all we know, you'll be giddy to see a lineup that includes Toto, Diamond Rio, Chubby Checker and the Black Eyed Peas, all of whom are acts that could potentially land onstage if they garner enough votes. You'll rally all your lame-ass friends, start an online campaign, and next thing you know we'll be puking through "Rosanna," "Rub My Bleach-Blond Country Mullet, "Twist for the Millionth Fucking Time" and "Let's Get Retarded -- No, Really."

When it comes to music, democracy is for suckers. Need proof? Two words: American Idol.

We prefer fascism. We want a merciless leader, a musical Kim Jong-il who will tell us what we will be hearing without any explanation other than Because I Say So. We, of course, nominate ourselves, and hereby order you to get online pronto.

Ariel Shepard
Danny Hellman
Team Tomato
Team Tomato

There are four categories: Pop/Rock, Country, Oldies and Hip-Hop/R&B. You can nominate three artists in each category. You will vote for the following: In Pop/Rock: Cheap Trick, Hall & Oates and Los Lonely Boys. In Country, choose the only two who don't suck: Randy Travis and the Oak Ridge Boys. In Oldies, vote for Johnny Rivers, Leslie Gore and the Temptations. And in Hip-Hop/R&B, select Boyz II Men, Morris Day & the Time and the Gap Band. Do it, or we'll be stuck with Hoobastank, Ruben Studdard and Pat Boone, for Chrissakes. Go. Now. -- Randall Roberts

Say It Ain't So, Snoop
As the sordid details of the Snoop Dogg sexual assault/extortion case emerge (legal filings recently appeared on TheSmokingGun.com), it appears that the rapper's scandalous behavior could ground his Soul Plane, crash his Snoop DeVille and foul up the reception on his T-Mobile Sidekick.

Here's the skinny: On January 28, an Emmy-award-winning makeup artist named Kylie Bell filed a $25 million lawsuit against Snoop Dogg, ABC, the Walt Disney Company and Snoop's bodyguards, alleging that she had been drugged and raped by the rapper and his posse backstage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show two years earlier. During the four days she was on the set, she says she saw Snoop and his posse smoking several marijuana-laced blunts in front of employees of either Disney or ABC. She also alleges that she personally witnessed the guest host snorting cocaine in his dressing room. Following the taping of the last show, she claims, "a number of people entered [Snoop's] dressing room and a party began. At the party, there were large quantities of marijuana and Champagne being consumed."

Bell then says she was handed a glass of Champagne by Snoop's security, began to feel dizzy and was assaulted sexually by the guards and Snoop. Then, before being driven home, she claims she was beaten and assaulted again, by Snoop's chief of security -- although she also admits she called this same man several times the next day because she did not remember what happened. When she mentioned she thought she had been drugged, the bodyguard told her he would "look into" the incident and would "take care of it."

According to court documents, Bell claimed Snoop's known affiliation with gang members prevented her from pursuing a criminal claim for fear of reprisal. However, not long after she mentioned the possibility of filing a police report to Kimmel Show staff members, she began to receive payments from them for "expenses." After the woman was hospitalized for mental-health issues "of a serious and permanent nature," Snoop's lawyers began paying for her "expenses" as well. Demands for more money were made and an attempt at mediation failed. Meanwhile, Snoop filed a countersuit alleging extortion. A settlement seemed nigh, but when Snoop's insurance refused to pony up an undisclosed sum, Bell went forth with her lawsuit.

Whether or not you believe her, one thing is clear: Pimp juice, apparently, runneth over from Snoop's cup, and none other than good old American greed is partly to blame for the spill. Corporate America probably should have known better when it plucked a gangbanging Crip off the streets and made him a full-fledged pop-culture icon. Most egregiously, the music industry co-signed on the pimp image Snoop was so fascinated by and turned it into a mainstream trend -- as proof, look no further than the Verizon commercial offering suburban teens a "pimped-out" camera phone. Or the MTV show Pimp My Ride. Or the Hughes Brothers' American Pimp. Or Huggy Bear, the police informant with an, um, interesting fashion sense portrayed by Snoop in the Starsky & Hutch movie. Or, for that matter, Snoop's own forays into both hardcore and softcore pornography -- most notably on the Girls Gone Wild series, especially popular with the frat-boy crowd.

But what about the woman in this case? Rape is obviously a serious crime, but so is extortion, and to be sure, $25 million buys a lot of motive. The fact is, Bell chose to pursue financial compensation over a criminal case in her attempt to resolve the matter.

There are no winners here. The lawsuit's allegations add an entirely ominous meaning to Snoop's recent song "Can I Get a Flicc Witchu," not to mention his earlier hit "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)." Even if the sex-crime allegations are baseless, a media feeding frenzy could put Snoop in the notorious company of Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. And if the woman wins her suit, Snoop will definitely "pay the cost to be the boss."

But what could really make the shizzle hit the fizzle is the fact that Jimmy Kimmel's talk show runs on ABC, which is owned by Disney, that progenitor of fine family-oriented fare. Hmm. Didn't know Mickey Mouse was down with cocaine, blunts, Champagne knockout drops and gang rapes, did you?

Paying out hush money to cover up a sexual assault behind closed doors at a major media corporation seems more like a General Hospital plot line than a real-life occurrence. What's next? Scott Peterson starring in an ABC After School Special? -- Erik K. Arnold

DIY
Local quartet Team Tomato has just returned triumphant from the DIY Convention, where its offbeat pop record Words and Skins and Bones was awarded Album of the Year. This was a trip filled with the high of playing with Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard and the low of having all their gear stolen. Seeing as how Brian Wiegert (vocals/guitar), Jordan Ross (bass/ vocals), Eric Clay (guitar/vocals) and Luis Actis (drums) are so self-reliant, I decided to let them interview themselves about their trip.

Us: Ok, dudes, we're here interviewing ourselves.

Ourselves: Rad.

So, how was LA and shit?

Pretty good. We did a lot of things ourselves, like drive around and pay for food and gas and flights and lodging, and we went to a strip club and were all like, "Heyyyy," but she was all, "Uh-uh, do it yourself."

Sounds pretty sweet -- so what mega-celebs did you party with?

Only Judd Nelson, but he parties weird, so we split.

Didn't you play with Doug Gillard [of Guided by Voices] on Thursday?

That we did! Then he came to check us out again on Saturday and couldn't have been nicer. His new CD rules. It didn't win 2005 DIY Album of the Year like ours did, but it still rules.

So were you all scared like little girls to go out to LA and play for industry types and jaded musical assholes?

Shit no! We didn't even lose our cool when our equipment got stolen -- we just went out and played three kick-ass rock shows -- and we weren't even drunk for two of them!

Yeah, we didn't like our equipment anyway!

Yeah!

So, real quick: four best and worst things about LA and DIY.

Best: doing it ourselves, rocking out, sushi mac, Francine Dancer. Worst: having to share a bed with another dude, stuck in LA traffic, Eric's farts, thieves.

OK, well, that's about all -- what's next for ourselves?

Other people doing shit for us, hopefully! -- Jordan Harper

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