Tix for guns; Ramones cover-crazy; ASCAP news

GUN OWNERS who have shied away from local entertainment events due to the high cost of tickets can cop a pair of ducats to their favorite concert or sporting event by surrendering their firearms to authorities.

Ticketmaster launched the Los Angeles version of its “Guns for Tickets” campaign Friday, offering tix to concerts, sporting events, etc., to people getting rid of their guns.

Each weapon turned over to authorities will be worth a pair of ducats to an event of the person’s choosing, subject to availability and guidelines set up by Ticketmaster.

Local churches will act as exchange sites, and will have Ticketmaster terminals set up so events can be selected and tickets issued on the spot.

Sponsored locally by KTTV-TV and backed by L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, Police Chief Willie Williams and a contingent of City Council members, the exchange program began Saturday, and will run through Jan. 1.

Police officers will be present at the exchange locations to handle the guns delivered.

Ticketmaster franchisees in the San Francisco Bay area and Albuquerque have logged successes with the exchange program, earning praise from politicos and the public in those areas.

A DIVERSE LINEUP of songwriters/performers — including Brian Wilson, Jimmy Webb, Karen Akers, Peter Yarrow, Al Jarreau and Odetta — will participate in “Songwriters Inside-Out,” a performance/discussion series set to kick off Feb. 14 in the Oak Room of New York’s Algonquin Hotel.

The series of 13 Monday night events will feature the various writers and singers performing acoustic sets in the Oak Room’s intimate confines, followed by Q&A sessions with the audience. Organizers for the series — Jennifer S. Cohen, Camille Barbone and Peter Ligeti — hope to create the atmosphere of salons of old.

Funds raised will be distributed to such charities as Share Our Strength, the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation and LIFEbeat. American Express Platinum Card is sponsor.

THE ALL-COVER-SONG album is a big deal this season, with Guns N’ Roses’ “SpaghettiIncident” already near the top of the charts. But the idea isn’t a new one, and it usually springs from a dry songwriting well, or the demand for a quick product by a hot act (like David Bowie’s “Pin-Ups”). Neither of these theories applies to the Ramones’ new, all-oldies release on Radioactive, “Acid-Eaters,” according to the label’s head of marketing, Brendan Bourke.

“On the last album, ‘Mondo Bizarro,’ there was a Doors cover, ‘Take It as It Comes,’ which was the last single,” says Bourke. “The band decided to do an all-covers EP for a European tour, but after they’d tracked six songs, they figured ‘This is so good, why not do a whole album’s worth?’ ”

“Acid-Eaters” was produced by Dig’s Scott Hackwith and features such warhorses done Ramones-style as the Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love,” the Rolling Stones’ “Out of Time,” and the first single, the Who classic “Substitute ,” which features Pete Townshend on backing vocals and guitar.

“In its first week, it is only behind Crowded House on the alternative commercial charts,” Bourke said. The Ramones will tour the U.S. in January.

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY of Composers, Authors & Publishers, which previously announced significant changes to its member services, has unveiled several key points of its revamped strategy.

In September, ASCAP, acting on the recommendations of an outside consultant, said it would seek to improve service to members and users, expand its pool of distributable money, and examine its governing strategies.

A search for a new CEO continues, and a governance committee of ASCAP’s board will soon recommend changes to that board to assure a representative body is in place, according to ASCAP president Morton Gould.

“New or expanded procedures are already in place and I will be making further announcements about our progress in the near future,” Gould said. “As we enter a multimedia, interactive era, we are positioning ASCAP to stay ahead of changes that impact on the way we do business so that we can continue to most successfully license and protect the rights of our members.”

Gould said his organization has added the use of radio station logs and electronic monitoring to its previous use of tape monitoring. The result will more than double the number of radio stations being surveyed by ASCAP’s June 1994 distribution to publishers and its August 1994 distribution to writers, and the org plans to continue its expansion.

ASCAP’s television survey is also increasing, with its census of top local TV stations (as ranked by station license fees) doubling to 100 stations by the March publisher and May writer distributions. The organization plans to expand approximately 300%-400% by the June publisher and August writer distributions. ASCAP also plans increases in its number of census stations.

Additionally, ASCAP said it will have a full package of payment system enhancements in place. Specifically, ASCAP is creating an all-new radio bonus award that will add substantially more funds to the distributing pool than its current Radio Feature Award. The new award will generate a 50% increase in the number of hit songs to receive awards.

ASCAP’s foreign monitoring is also being upgraded. ASCAP is now tracking performances on key TV channels in France, Italy and Spain, and will begin targeted tracking of radio chart airplay, cinema and live concert performances in January.

L.A. SEEN: The Rockats, a rockabilly group popular in the early ’80s, have re-formed this year. It all started in Japan, where the group (which put out five records in the past, all available in the U.S., U.K. and Japan) has been experiencing a revival in popularity — so much so that they toured earlier this year.

The tour led to a deal with the Jimco label, and recently, the Rockats have signed with Sony for publishing. The group is currently in Los Angeles, recording at the Trackhouse in Van Nuys, and they just played two extremely crowded shows, one at Club Lingerie, one at the Viper Room, a couple nights after country legend Johnny Cash rocked that house.

In attendance was Rockats’ contemporary Brian Setzer (formerly of the Stray Cats). Though the various members of the Rockats don’t live in Los Angeles (lead singer Dibbs Preston resides in London), they are thinking of relocating, and will be back in February for more shows and recording …

The Ringling Sisters’ eighth annual Holiday Fun Raiser (benefiting Hollygrove Orphanage, People in Progress, L.A. Youth Network and Rock for Choice) was recently held at the Palace. The sold-out show, featuring Concrete Blonde, X, Henry Rollins, Firehose and many others, raised over $ 10,000 for the various organizations.

Backstage was full of holiday cheer: Hubert Selby Jr. (author of “Last Exit to Brooklyn”) and rock artist Rollins, who both gave readings, were photographed with a gaggle of giggling girls, X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka rubbed shoulders with artist Robert Williams and Chastity Bono (whose band Ceremony also played), while Cervenka regaled everyone with stories of their recent tour with openers Green Apple Quickstep.

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