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Music News; N.Y. still hot rumor for MTV awards

THIS WEEK’S industry buzz on the 1993 edition of the MTV Video Music Awards show has the popular program moving to New York.

Sources say ongoing discussions have been held with management at Radio City Music Hall, but the location of the show remains undecided.

Because of last year’s fiasco with seating and access to the post-show party site at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, executives at the music channel are said to be looking for ways to limit the griping by industryites.

But sources close to the production of the event say it is much more likely that the show will remain in Los Angeles, with the Universal Amphitheatre the venue of choice and adjoining Universal Studios the site of the after-party, as it had been for several years before the staging at Pauley.

An MTV spokesperson declined comment, as did officials at Universal and Radio City.

VETERAN CONCERT promoter Jim Rissmiller will officially return from a 10-year retirement June 5-6 when he stages a folk and country music festival at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, the first gig for his new firm, Concert Associates.

The show, to be co-sponsored by Rhino Records and UCLA’s Center for the Performing Arts, will benefit performing artist programs. Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Judy Collins, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Tish Hinjosa and Roger McGuinn are among the 28 confirmed performers, with more to be added. The festival will include an arts and crafts display and food vendors.

Dubbed “Troubadors of Folk,” the event will run from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, with music between 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Two-day tickets are $ 45 and include parking. Junior two-day tickets for those under 12 are $ 15, with admission free for children under 7. Tickets are on sale April 3 through TicketMaster.

Rissmiller said he plans to reach a national audience by converting the “Troubadors of Folk” June festival into a one-day event and taking it on the road to 20-25 cities in the fall. “I don’t know the lineup or which sponsor, but we will go into other cities,” he said.

The 50-year-old promoter, who produced thousands of big-name concerts and political events on the West Coast in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, lost interest in the business when partner Steve Wolf was murdered in 1977 during a robbery.

Rissmiller disbanded his concert business in 1983 and opened the Country Club nightclub, later teaching at UCLA while serving as an athletic department consultant, the latter a position he still holds. He later moved to Austin to teach at the University of Texas.

After helping stage a major European festival in 1989, Rissmiller planned to resume his UT teaching, but after a year of soul-searching, decided to return to the concert business. “I realized I didn’t dislike the business,” he said. “I had simply gotten tired and burned myself out.”

Rissmiller said the folk festival will be part of an ongoing program to push a diverse brand of entertainment, away from the traditional concert fare he once offered as part of the Wolf & Rissmiller concert promotion firm.

“I’M JUST GLAD they didn’t make me cut my hair and sing like Kenny Rogers,” says Liberty Records artist Ricky Lynn Gregg, whose long hair stretches to the middle of his back and makes the country artist look more like a refugee from a heavy metal band.

Gregg, whose self-titled debut disc hits stores this week, said he was reluctant initially to keep his long hair while showcasing for a record deal. “But I’ve always had the hair and I’ve been doing this so long that my hair was just as much as what I was about as my music was.”

The Texas native, a former member of the Austin-based rock band Head East, said he takes criticism about his hair in stride. “I’ve had to deal with rednecks my whole life, so (the criticism is) nothing new. Besides, my hair doesn’t make my music, my heart does.”

Although the disc’s first single, “If I Had a Cheatin’ Heart,” sports a ubiquitous country music title, its rock undertones are clearly felt. The disc is filled with well-crafted songs, about half of which were written by Gregg. Many of them potential radio and club faves, and “Cheyenne,” a poignant track about love gone south, should easily rally the female listener contingent around Gregg.

Gregg’s long hair, good looks and his record company’s creation of a line dance for his first single has some skeptics pegging Gregg as Liberty’s answer to achy breaky hearthrob Billy Ray Cyrus.

The singer says he’s not experiencing a Billy Ray backlash, but admits he has “gotten a lot of those kind of comments.”

Gregg, who has been performing since age 19, cites influences as diverse as Merle Haggard and Bad Co. Gregg said he tries to make his material distinguishable from other country acts by incorporating a blues-based British rock feel into his songs alongside the country melodies.

The singer is supporting the new disc with a hectic schedule of one-nighters, meet and greets and radio station visits. His tour starts May 1.

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