Roger Dean sues over Avatar movie

Iconic cover artist Roger Dean has filed a lawsuit against movie director James Cameron over 2009 movie Avatar.

Dean claims visualisation of Pandora, the world on which the film is set, was based heavily on his artwork.

He’s demanded $50m in damages – and he also wants Twentieth Century Fox to ensure Avatar is never seen again in its current form.

In papers lodged at New York District Court last week, and revealed by Deadline, Dean’s representatives argue that floating islands and stone arches as seen in the movie bear so much resemblance to his  creations that it amounts to breach of copyright.

The document says: “Plaintiff has been a well-known and successful artist and designer for more than 45 years. Plaintiff is recognised internationally for architectural concepts, stage, furniture and logo design – but particularly for his paintings of unique and original landscapes that feature geological forms not otherwise occurring in art or nature.”

Dean cites three books – Views from 1975, Magnetic Storm from 1984 and Dragon’s Dream from 2008 – as evidence his work existed before Cameron made Avatar.

“The similarities of such work are substantial, continuing and direct, so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre,” the paper says.

“The infringing portions of Avatar are so similar to Plaintiff’s works that Defendants must have had access to Plaintiff’s works.”

Along with a cash settlement and a public statement admitting he was the creator of imagery used in the film, Dean wants Fox to “cease and desist from any further reproduction, distribution, transmission or other use.”

If judgement is found in his favour, it means the original version of Avatar would have to be scrapped, and any sequels will look massively different from the production seen on release.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Cameron was asked in 2010 if he got the idea for floating mountains from a Yes album cover, and answered: “It might have been, back in my pot-smoking days.”

Former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman last week confirmed Dean is working on new sets for a 2014 touring production of 1974 album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.


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Jagger ‘makes best’ of undemanding career

Mick Jagger is proud of his achievements as frontman of the Rolling Stones – but he admits to sometimes wishing he’d followed another path.

He says his job is “undemanding” when compared to being a teacher, politician or journalist.

Ahead of the Stones’ long-awaited headline slot at Glastonbury tonight, Jagger tells the BBC: “I’m sure everyone wishes they’d tried to have been… I’d have been a dancer, if anything.

“A schoolteacher would have been very gratifying, I’m sure. There’s millions of things you would loved to have done – politician, journalist; I thought of being a journalist once.”

But he says he doesn’t suffer any regret. “You could think, ‘Well, I would have liked to have done that,’ but that’s completely pointless. Everyone wants to have done more things in their lives.

“I don’t feel frustrated for lack of control, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve done.”

He adds light-heartedly: “It’s a slightly intellectually undemanding thing to do, being a rock singer. But, you know, you make the best of it.”

Meanwhile, bandmate Keith Richards is looking forward to appearing on the iconic Glastonbutry Pyramid Stage this evening, because he feels the time is right.

“It’s almost as if you were finally destined to play Glastonbury,” he says. “There were many years when we were offered it, but we turned it down.

“I look upon it as a culmination of our British heritage – it had to be done, and it’s going to be done, and we’ll see what happens.”

Part of the Stones’ first-ever Glasto show will be broadcast on BBC Two at 10.30pm tonight, following a tense round of negotiations between the band and the broadcaster.


Iommi slates Sabbath ‘cheap thrill’ jibe

Tony Iommi has rejected the suggestion that Black Sabbath’s dark imagery is “disingenuous” and designed to be nothing more than a “cheap thrill” for fans.

And he says his biggest regret about the band’s career is the years they used cocaine, which eventually resulted in the firing of Ozzy Osbourne.

Asked if the band’s Satanic overtones came about, Iommi tells the BBC: “When we did the first album the record company did the cover, and that’s what done it – the inside was an upside-down cross and that’s what started everybody off.”

The guitarist denies the suggestion that the imagery is simply misleading, saying: “We believe in what we did. You can only judge by: we’ve been in it for 45 years. You answer it.”

Sabbath have been linked to murders and suicides by the mainstream press for decades, with bassist Geezer Butler’s lyrics frequently cited as inspiration for criminal acts. But Iommi says: “All I do is create music. I don’t create anything to destroy people or to upset anybody. It’s helped more people.

“The lyrics are what happens in the world. What Geezer would write about is what he’d seen and felt and what we were going through. Geezer said to me he had to write powerful lyrics to go with the powerful lyrics. It was probably my fault then!”

The band last week topped the album charts with 13, their first record with Osbourne since 1978′s Never Say Die. He was fired the following year as a result of his drink and drug issues – and Iommi admits that era is the part he most regrets about his career.

“I can’t change it, but there’s things you could have done in a different way,” he says of the years he spent using cocaine. “If I’d known then what I know now I wouldn’t have dabbled to that extent.

“It did a lot of damage. Initially we thought it was great and it was helping us create. When it came to the point we had to replace Ozzy we were in a bad way.”

Asked how the firing was handled, the cancer survivor recalls how drummer Bill Ward took control of the situation. “The drummer did it; he told him. We were going to tell him all together, but Bill stepped in.

“It was a terrible thing to do – but Ozzy wasn’t into it any more and he was doing too much of everything.”

The full HardTalk show is available to UK users via BBC iPlayer until 1am on Friday.


Bob Dylan unveils British tour

Bob Dylan has announced nine shows in the UK during November.

He’ll play three gigs each at Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium (November 18, 19, 20), Blackpool’s Opera House (November 22, 23, 24) and London’s Royal Albert Hall (26, 27, 28).

The last set of shows will mark Dylan’s first appearances at the Albert Hall since his controversial 1966 tour just after he’d adopted electric instrumentation. A bootleg recording during the tour includes a fan can be shouting “Judas!” leading Dylan to tell his bandmates: “Play it fucking loud.” It’s often said the recording was made at the Albert Hall, but it was actually in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.

The veteran singer-songwriter was last month approved to be shortlisted for France’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur. In 2012 he was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Meanwhile, a book started by Dylan’s late road manager is set to be published via a Kickstarter campaign. Victor Maymudes worked with the musician from 1961 until 2000, and recorded 24 hours of anecdotes before dying of a brain aneurysm in 2001.

His son Jake, who’s behind the campaign, says: “He could tell stories until your ear fell off.” Episodes include Maymudes buying weed for Dylan and the Beatles, working at the Newport Folk Festival and touring Europe in 1966.


Floyd fan jailed for late-night album sessions

A 51-year-old Pink Floyd fan has been sentenced to 28 days in jail for repeatedly playing the band’s albums at high volume throughout the night.

Paul Foster, of Chesterton, Stoke-on-Trent, was put behind bars for having ignored five injunctions against playing loud music in recent years.

Neighbours reported they’d endured night after night of having to listen to The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall – followed by sessions of soul ballads.

One resident of Foster’s street tells SWNS: “It’s been a nightmare. I like Pink Floyd as much as the next man – but not when it’s being played ten times a day until 4am.

“I’ve lost track of the times I’ve heard Barry White and Marvin Gaye coming from the house, but it was mainly Pink Floyd. I think whenever I hear their songs again I’ll be climbing the walls.”

It’s been reported that one family moved out of the area after enduring the audio barrage from Foster, who’s lived in his house for over 20 years.

He first appeared in court last September and agreed to an undertaking of future conduct, which he breached in October and December. In January he was served with an injunction banning him from causing nuisance noise, but broke it in February and March.

In April, a couple in Sweden aged 81 and 71 were charged with harassment after playing Iron Maiden track Afraid To Shoot Strangers through speakers directed towards a neighbour’s home until 4am.


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ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Remixes New Depeche Mode Single

Generally speaking, ZZ Top isn’t a band we tend to look to for innovation and change; they do one thing, and they do it very, very well. But the Texas trio can still surprise us sometimes, as evidenced by their recent collaboration with the British synth-pop veterans in Depeche Mode.

The Top/Mode teamup comes in the form of a remixed version of ‘Soothe My Soul,’ the most recent single from Depeche Mode’s latest album, ‘Delta Machine.’ Released last month, ‘Soul’ received the remix treatment from a number of artists; in fact, the CD maxi-single includes no fewer than six rejiggered versions of the track — one of which was put together by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons with producer Joe Hardy. It’s an unexpected pairing to say the least, but one that makes perfect sense in Gibbons’ eyes.

During his recent album-by-album look at the first 10 ZZ Top records, Gibbons reflected on the synthesizer-assisted sound of 1983′s ‘Eliminator’ by saying, “Bands like Depeche Mode were leading the synthesizer charge at this time. What’s interesting is, Joe Hardy and I received an invitation from them recently to remix one of their new songs, ‘Soothe My Soul.’ [Vocalist] Dave Gahan told me they were looking for a little ‘Texas mud’ to go with the electronica. Funny how things go around in circles sometimes.”



Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Concert Shut Down by Fire Marshals

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ show last night (June 8) at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles was shut down by fire marshals as a result of overcrowding.

It was the fourth of six planned nights at the intimate 1,300 seat theatre, and the L.A. Times reports that the venue was more crowded than even the previous sold-out shows. Apparently, the first sign of trouble came when fire officials kept concert-goers from returning to the theatre from the lobby after getting drinks or going the bathroom.

Around 10:30, Petty himself informed the crowd that 100 people needed to either leave the venue or move up to the balcony, otherwise the show would be cut approximately 45 minutes short. After a long version of the song ‘Melinda,’ he informed everyone that the show was going to have to be cancelled. According to the Times, “the move infuriated fans, who refused to leave amid howls and boos.’


The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift Perform Together in Chicago

Taylor Swift joined the Rolling Stones onstage at Chicago’s United Center last night (June 3) to perform ‘As Tears Go By’ — and of course, dance a bit with Mick Jagger.

The Stones legend introduced the song as “one we haven’t done in quite a long time. Actually, it’s almost the first song that Keith (Richards) and I wrote. We didn’t do it at the time, we gave it to someone else, a young lady, to sing. But we’re going to do it now, with a bit of help…”

That assistance turned out to be country-pop sensation Swift, perhaps the most popular star in all of music over the last few years. The 23 year old sauntered in wearing a short black dress and handled the second verse herself. She also joined Jagger for a slightly exaggerated version of a formal dance, as if the two were crashing a ball at some palace. As she shared with her 28 million Twitter followers after the show, the night was clearly special for Swift: