All seems to be quiet on the porn-rock front since the October agreement between the Recordings Industry Association of America and the Parents Music Resource Center/Parent-Teacher Association. The only major albums that have come out with stickers so far have been pretty much tongue in cheek (Bette Midler, Twisted Sister), and none has come out with special "leeric" sheets. Still, the issue lives on: A recent Media General/Associated Press poll on rock lyrics produced some interesting results. Understand, though, that the initial breakdown question, "Do you like rock and roll music?," produced a 56/43 yea/nay split among 1,462 people aged 18 to 65.
Do you think some rock records should or should not have warning stickers? Should: 56 percent. Should not: 36 percent. Don't know, no answer: 8 percent.
Do you think rock records should or should not be rated in much the same way movies carry G, PG, PG-13, R and X ratings? Should: 55 percent. Should not: 38 percent. Don't know: 7 percent.
Do you think lyrics have a good effect or a bad effect on children, or don't you think it makes any difference? Good effect: 1 percent; bad effect: 51 percent; Makes no difference: 38 percent. Don't know, no answer: 10 percent.
There were also some specific questions for those who said lyrics had a bad effect, in terms of how lyrics stimulated drug use, disobedience, sexual activity, violent behavior, laziness or a disregard for authority.
Drug use -- Yes: 77 percent; no: 14 percent; don't know, no answer: 9 percent.
Disobedience -- Yes: 83 percent; no: 10 percent; don't know, no answer: 7 percent.
Sexual activity -- Yes: 86 percent; no: 8 percent; don't know, no answer: 6 percent.
Violent behavior -- Yes: 83 percent; no: 10 percent; don't know, no answer: 7 percent.
Laziness -- Yes: 60 percent; no: 25 percent; don't know, no answer: 15 percent.
Disregard for authority -- Yes: 85 percent; no: 9 percent; don't know, no answer: 6 percent.
A final question dealt with whether heads of households listened to the records their children purchased to make sure they were suitable or not (or whether they didn't have children, as 53 percent didn't). Of the remaining participants, 24 percent listened and 19 percent didn't. And of those who did listen, 27 percent took away records they deemed inappropriate, while 71 percent did not. On Beyond the D.C. Lottery
If you're at the Roxy on Friday to see the group On Beyond Zebra and one of the women on stage has an arresting familiarity about her, don't be surprised: Allison Palmer is the star of one of the most popular D.C. Lottery television commercials -- as a uniformed police officer. "I'll be walking down the street and complete strangers will be yelling 'Lock me up,' 'Beat me with your stick.' It's kind of sick," Palmer concedes.
Palmer shot the lottery commercial after having done a number of student and experimental, sci-fi type films around town. "I lend myself to those kind of roles," says the 6-foot, 1-inch actress and singer. "I'm usually playing this strong, mystical kind of presence. I guess the height probably has something to do with it. I always thought it was my hands."
She describes On Beyond Zebra, which has been together for three years and for which she plays bass, as "eclectic universal pop." The group's other vocalists -- cellist Amy Ziff and her sister Bitzi on percussion and keyboard -- sometimes leave drummer Mike Pugh and guitarist Andy Charneco at home and appear as a new wave/doo wop trio called Betty. But it's On Beyond Zebra that will withdraw from the club circuit after Friday to start some recording work. Says Palmer, "We've been waiting to perfect our sound before we spend any time and effort putting out something that we're going to be embarrassed about a few months down the line." Cash's First Novel
The Man in Black is putting the finishing touches on a novel called "Man in White." The legendary country singer Johnny Cash has sold his first novel to Harper and Row/San Francisco, which will publish it in September. Excitement over the book, which deals with the apostle Paul's conversion, has generated a 100,000-copy first printing (that may be upped) and earned Cash a lot of same, in the form of a six-figure advance.
"John spent nine years on this book and wrote every word," editor Roy M. Carlisle told Publisher's Weekly. He noted that Cash, a former drug addict and alcoholic now better known for his deep personal faith, "knows the dark and light sides of life. For him, Paul represents one of the great studies of the profound transformation of a human life. It is an intrinsically interesting story for anyone curious about human change."
According to Harper and Row publicist Brian Berwin, "So many books I deal with are terribly overwritten and you have to edit them down. This man is a lyricist and every word and every sentence is extremely concentrated. It's an intensely written work, and people will dwell over sentences and passages."
Cash will also provide a curious piece of cross-merchandising, writing and recording a song to accompany the book's publication. Sharing Lloyd Webber's Success
No requiem for Andrew Lloyd Webber: The composer of "Cats," "Evita," "Jesus Christ, Superstar," "Starlight Express" and the current Broadway hit "Song & Dance" is about to get a little richer. In England, his company, the Really Useful Group (RUG), recently floated a public offering of company shares, with RUG's $50 million value based not just on the worldwide success of Lloyd Webber's perpetually running musicals, but ownership of a West End theater, the Palace. London's Financial Times estimated that the offering will personally net Lloyd Webber some $13 million, even though he'll still retain some $20 million in company shares. His earnings as a composer are not part of the group's net income.
The newspaper added that "while some investors may be loath to back a company for which the reviews of phlegmatic art critics are price-sensitive information, others lured by the giant name of Lloyd Webber will doubtless carry the day and ensure the issue is well over-subscribed." Lloyd Webber is currently putting the finishing touches on his newest musical, a retelling of the classic film "The Phantom of the Opera."