People talk 03/19/03

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Dire Straits singer injured, will miss show

LONDON -- Dire Straits lead singer Mark Knopfler broke six ribs and a collar bone in a motorcycle accident and will be unable to perform at a London concert later this month, his agent said Tuesday.

Publicist Judy Shaw of Mercury Records said Knopfler was knocked from his Honda bike when it collided with a Fiat Punto in Belgravia, central London, on Monday morning.

"Unfortunately this means he will not be able to perform at the Albert Hall on the 25th of March in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust with Eric Clapton," she said. "However, the show will still be going ahead with Eric Clapton."

A spokeswoman for St. Thomas's hospital said Knopfler, 53, was treated for six broken ribs and a broken collar bone before being discharged Monday evening. The female driver of the Fiat was not injured.

A leading exponent of the moody rock lament and one of the world's most respected guitarists, Knopfler has written a series of hit songs, including "Sultans of Swing," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Brothers in Arms," which have won Dire Straits an ardent international following. His most recent production was the solo album, "The Ragpicker's Dream."

Mayer: 'Idol' doesn't live up to billingNEW YORK -- Recent Grammy winner John Mayer admits he likes "American Idol," but he thinks the show doesn't live up to its title.

"I believe the reason why you can't ever find a true American idol on that show is because a true American idol would have too much respect to ever do that show," the guitarist told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

"And that's not knocking the show -- I think it's hilarious and great -- but you are not searching all of America. You are searching all of America without the integrity enough to say, 'That's not the way I want to make it.'"

Mayer's debut album, "Room for Squares," has sold more than 2 million copies, much of that based on word of mouth.

The 25-year-old says true artists wouldn't even bother to audition for a show like "American Idol" -- and he's one of them.

"I would rather live to be 80 and (have) sold zero records rather than be standing the way someone told me to stand," he said.

Fergie keeps going after death of dad

SYDNEY, Australia -- The duchess of York worked through Tuesday promoting Weight Watchers, despite just learning of her father's death in Britain.

Sarah Ferguson told Australian television that her father, Ronald Ferguson, who died Sunday in a British hospital at 71 after a series of heart attacks, would have wanted her to continue her work.

"My father would say, 'What are you doing? You have your obligations,'" she told Australian television's Nine Network. "He always brought me up to put on the stiff upper lip and get on with it, he used to call me a wimp if I became too emotional."

Ferguson, who was in Australia to promote the weight-loss company, said she and her Sydney-based sister, Jane Luedecke, would return to England for their father's funeral. A date has not yet been announced for the service.

Ferguson said she visited her father Saturday before leaving for Australia. She was informed of his death while on a stopover in Bangkok.

"I think Dad and I both had an understanding that we'd communicated to each other everything, all the lessons he wanted to give me," she said. "When I said goodbye to him he just blew me a kiss and said, 'See you soon, then' and it's as if, deep down, I sort of said goodbye."

Hayek happy just for Oscar nomination

MEXICO CITY -- Salma Hayek hopes she'll win the best-actress Oscar for her role as painter Frida Kahlo in "Frida," but she doesn't consider herself a favorite.

"We haven't had the promotional campaigns of other films, nor of other actresses," Hayek said Monday. "But I have a chance like all the other nominees. So if I win, it is because I really deserve it."

Also nominated for best actress are Nicole Kidman, "The Hours"; Diane Lane, "Unfaithful"; Julianne Moore, "Far From Heaven"; and Renee Zellweger, "Chicago."

ABC-TV will broadcast the Oscar ceremony Sunday from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.

"One should never lose hope," the 34-year-old Hayek said Monday. "It's clear the U.S. press doesn't see me as one of the strong competitors for the Oscar, but I am happy just with the nomination."

When asked if she would consider becoming a U.S. citizen, Hayek said: "How would that improve my situation?"

"As a Mexican citizen, my situation is improving," she said.

Hayek appeared at a screening of "Frida" Sunday in Mexico City's sprawling center.

Wolfman Jack statue made in Texas

DEL RIO, Texas -- A statue of the man who became Wolfman Jack when he was on a border radio station will be erected in his honor this Halloween in Del Rio.

A miniature replica of the statue, constructed by sculptor Michael Maiden out of wax, went on display Saturday at a daylong music festival held in honor of Wolfman Jack, whose real name was Robert Smith.

The disc jockey -- whose gravelly voice and wolf howls made him one of the nation's most recognizable personalities -- was featured in the 1973 film "American Graffiti." He died in 1995 at 57.

Jay Johnson, president of the Wolfman Jack Memorial Foundation, described how Wolfman Jack helped spread R&B and rock 'n' roll tunes across the United States through high-powered radio station XERF-AM, based across the border in Mexico.

The statue replica, which stands just over 2 feet tall, depicts Wolfman Jack dancing a jig on one leg with a rainbow of musical notes. Records rain down behind him.-- From wire reports

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