Planet Pop

STAFF REPORTER WITH AGENCIES

Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 13

Anger towards China and past political repression has turned Taiwan on to heavy metal, Chthonic (閃靈樂團) frontman Freddy Lin (林昶佐) told a group of fans in New York on Friday.

"We're doing heavy metal because are full of pent-up anger," Lin said. "The anger we feel in Taiwan is directed at China's invasion threat and a hatred for martial law, even though in the past Taiwanese musicians couldn't find a link connecting heavy metal to Taiwan."

Lin added that while China-friendly media outlets in Taiwan criticize Chthonic, this has only made his band more popular.

He was speaking at a forum on the history of indie music at the 2006 CMJ Music Marathon, a music-business convention devoted to independent musicians that was held New York's Lincoln Center.

Freddy was the only singer from Asia invited to take part in the forum, where he took the stage as one of the main speakers. He told the audience that Chthonic had strong political convictions, stressing their opposition to China and support for Taiwanese independence.

The 2006 CMJ Music Marathon began on Oct. 31 and ended Saturday. Chthonic's latest album Seediq Bale debuted at number two on the CMJ chart after its Oct. 3 release and has remained there ever since.

Saying he was impressed by Lin's address at the forum, Unearth lead singer Trevor Phipps noted that heavy metal was supposed to be dangerous and that political dissidence was the main power force US independent music during the 1950s, and even as late as during the 1980s. He added that today, however, the US was too diverse and lacked a central p olitical target to protest against.

Taiwanese fans hoping to see Chthonic will have to be patient, however, as Lin also announced that his band will tour the US next year, visiting 30 cities for as many concerts. They will also perform 30 concerts in Europe, in addition to shows in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue arrived in Sydney yesterday and told fans she was delighted to be on the comeback trail after being sidelined by health problems for 18 months.

"We're on tour again, whoa!" a bubbly Minogue told reporters after her plane landed.

The Sun Herald newspaper reported that the 38-year-old jumped up and down clapping her hands as if to reinforce recent stories that she is fully recovered from breast cancer.

A spokesman for Minogue said the Showgirl concerts would be modified to accord with Minogue's continuing health concerns.

A lump was removed from the her left breast in a Melbourne hospital in May 2005. After the operation in her hometown, which forced the postponement of the remaining Showgirl concerts in Australia and in Asia, Minogue underwent treatment in France, where she has been sharing an apartment with her fiance, actor Olivier Martinez.

The former Neighbours soap opera star will make her first public appearance in Australia on Wednesday. In Sydney, she will launch her own perfume.

The King may no longer be a resident of Sin City, but Las Vegas has opened its arms to a new member of rock royalty: Prince.

The eccentric pop superstar is setting up shop in the desert gambling and entertainment resort, performing twice a week at a hotel nightclub on the Vegas Strip, organizers said last week.

Prince, 48, will perform on Fridays and Saturdays at a jazz club inside the Rio Hotel for an indefinite period, joining big names like Celine Dion, Barry Manilow and Elton John who have taken up semi-permanent residence in Las Vegas.

The club is named 3121 Jazz Cuisine, after Prince's latest album 3121, which took the No. 1 spot on the U.S. album charts soon after its release in March. His first performance will be this Friday. Ticket prices start at US$125.

Prince, who shot to fame in 1984 after releasing Purple Rain, was not available for comment on the Vegas decision. The singer changed his name in 1993 to an unpronounceable symbol and was referred to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince until 2000.

Sometimes reclusive but acknowledged as one of the most talented and eclectic pop music artists, Prince has emerged from his self-imposed isolation this year, performing at the Brit Awards for pop music, on US network comedy show Saturday Night Live and on the finale of American Idol.