Ben Folds Five and Fraggle Rock Make a Comeback

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I’ve never been a Ben Folds Five fan. Sure, "Brick" was a good tune, and I think it was something about teenage pregnancy or something? (That or rape. I always get that song confused with Better Than Ezra’s "Desperately Wanting" and The Verve Pipe’s "The Freshmen," which have similar themes along the lines of SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED TO SOMEBODY, LET’S REMEMBER IT.) (Also, don’t get me started on my brain’s issues with The Verve Pipe and The Verve.) (Remember the ’90s?!?!) You know what I do love? Fraggle Rock! Well, I did when I was a kid, because I haven’t really spent much of my adulthood rewatching television programs for children. But I suppose Ben Folds Five (made up of Ben Folds, age 46, and the two other members of the Five) sure do!

In the video for "Do It Anyway," the lead single off of their comeback album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, the Five team up with the Fraggles, as well as Rob Corddry, Anna Kendrick, and Chris Hardwick, to dance their cares away. What have we learned here? That people get really excited for Ben Folds Five reunion despite the fact that Ben Folds Five sounds like Ben Folds Solo, and that I am jaded because I see incorporating second-rate Muppets as a cheap music video stunt. I mean, Weezer already recruited the real ones for one of their late-era boring songs ten years ago (and it included dialogue from the actual Muppets!). Of course, make up your own decision after watching the video below:

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Former Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Passes. A Look at His Art

Former bassist for Weezer, Mikey Welsh, passed away in a Chicago hotel room yesterday afternoon from a suspected drug overdose. He played with the band from 1998 to 2001 when he suffered a nervous breakdown. After leaving the hospital, he spent $60,000 on heroin and cocaine within four months, before getting clean for at least six years. He turned to art and partnered with snowboard company Burton who used his designs on their snowboards. Since then he’s been getting good reviews for his work, moving on to murals and solo exhibitions. We take a look at some of his pieces.

He has described his work saying, “My paintings are all about color. I keep it really basic. I think that’s why people respond to my paintings. They’re not abstract and obtuse. They’re personal, and it really hits people in the chest.”

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You can see more of his artwork on his blog.

Morning Links: Big Boi Caught With Ecstasy & Viagra, Charlie Sheen Dies in ‘Meat Explosion’

Harry Potter beat out Twilight in the Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy category at last night’s Teen Choice Awards. Everything else went to Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber, more or less. [E!] ● Antwan “Big Boi” Patton was arrested in Miami for possession of powdered MDMA, ecstasy, and viagra — you know, the makings of a real good night. [TMZ] ● Michael C. Hall seems to be adjusting quit nicely to the single life, bonding with his furry friends as single people are wont do. “Things are great. I’m loving life,” he said. “I spend a lot of time with my cats…. They’re my four-legged friends.” [ShowbizSpy]

● Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are so over that they’re returning their wedding gifts. And with them, they’re attaching a sweet and sometimes personal little note! Aww. [Deadspin] ● TMZ has done the dirty work and discovered that Charlie Sheen is killed off Two and a Half Men during a brutal “meat explosion” after he getting hit by a subway. Anyways, Charlie seems into it. [TMZ] ● It seems that Weezer has taken to covering Foster the People’s song of the summer, “Pumped Up Kicks.” We all age faster than we’d like, but Rivers Cuomo is perhaps aging the fastest of us all. [NME]

Weezer’s State Farm Jingle Is Surprisingly Good

To anyone who feels Weezer hasn’t done anything of merit since Pinkerton, I offer you the following video of a jingle the band recorded for a State Farm Insurance ad. It is, admittedly, no “Sweater Song” or “Say it Ain’t So,” nor will it win the band any awards in the integrity department. But this track does bring to mind the Blue Album’s playful catchiness, and is certainly a stronger showing than most of what the band’s produced over the last ten years. Plus, it could be that, deep in their punk hearts, they’re only endorsing the insurance company ironically.” We’re almost willing to believe. You decide after the jump.

Links: Weezer Offered $10 Million to Break Up, Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore’s Open Marriage

● One man has started an online fundraiser that will offer $10 million to sort-of-disgraced ’90s band Weezer if they agree to break up. This man, maybe, has never heard the music of Will.i.am. [NYDN] ● Rick Sanchez finally released an apology for the anti-Jew, anti-Jon Stewart rant that got him fired from CNN, saying there’s “no hard feelings” between him and the network. Him and God’s Chosen People, on the other hand… [HuffPo] ● Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks says both women and gay men hit on her. She’s like the human Lady Gaga. [Harper’s Bazaar]

● Brittney Jones, the 21-year-old who claims to have slept with Ashton Kutcher while Demi Moore was out of town, says it’s pretty normal behavior for the couple, who have an open marriage and enjoy threesomes. Meanwhile, Bruce Willis is probably a little bummed. [Hollywood Life] ● Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s brother, a hero in the creative community known as Burning Dan, has passed away at the age of 36. [The Wrap] ● If, hypothetically, a website wrote a headline that read “Jessica Simpson Explains How To Fart Less,” you would probably click on it, wouldn’t you? [HuffPo]

Is L.A.’s Next Trend Corporate-Sponsored Sleazy Motel Parties?

Last night was another crazed night in Hollywood, with sold-out shows by The xx at the Palladium and MTV’s “Buried Life” party at Drai’s. But the mid-week bash I keep replaying in my mind was Tuesday’s fantastic party at the unlikeliest of venues: the Dunes Inn. Whoever dreamt up this party for Axe deodorant deserves a raise, because on Tuesday night, organizers took over an entire semi-sleazy motel on Sunset Boulevard and had Weezer play a concert in the courtyard, all in the name of smelling manly. The “One Night Only” event was truly that: an event, with hordes of hopefuls trying to get in to the circus-like happening wrapping around the block, complete with open bar, free food and a name band.

To be sure, throwing events in non-traditional venues is a trend that’s been growing for years in Hollywood (see Milk Studios and Hollywood Forever cemetery). But no one that I can remember in the past decade has ever thought to rent out a dodgy motel on the least glamorous stretch of Sunset (near Western Avenue), buy out all the rooms (staffers & band tech types utilized the first floor, while celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens were in and out of the balcony rooms), secure the proper permits, and throw a party in the courtyard. It was a brilliant bash and a memorable night out, thanks in no small part to Weezer, who proved that they still matter with a bang-up set filled with older hits and a some new ones, too. Some special guests joined them on the stage, including My Chemical Romance and even Lost‘s Jorge Garcia, who, as you all know by now, is Weezer’s latest muse. Later today, Axe is expected to post a full video of the show on their Facebook page, so don’t miss it.

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