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+44 Not Breaking Up, Recording New LP; OiNK Founder Ellis Sounds Off

Plus news on CBGB's soon-to-be inhabited Bowery digs and a defaced Tupac memorial.

Mark Hoppus, the rabble-rousing former frontman of blink-182 and current principal of SoCal rockers +44, has refuted rumors of the band’s split with a recent post to his blog himynameismark.com.And what’s more is the quartet, also featuring drum savant TravisBarker, is returning to the studio to record the follow up to 2006’sdebut When Your Heart Stops Beating. “Here’s a photo fromyesterday of me signing on the contract with Interscope records for usto record the next +44 album,” Hoppus writes, accompanied by anevidential photo of his hand holding a pen to a thick contract. “Noweveryone else is signing it, and it’ll be all set and going. Hopefullythis will put any ‘band break up’ rumors to rest.” Though furtherdetails have yet-to-be revealed, the contemporary punk icon confirms,”We’re in the process of writing and recording songs that will developinto an album. We’re not rushing it, and we’re not lagging. We’remaking an album.”

OiNK Founder Ellis Sounds Off

Despite his arrest Tuesday (Oct. 23) on charges of suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement, OiNK founder Alan Ellis,24, maintains his innocence, claiming his download service is no moreillegal than Google. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t believe mywebsite breaks the law. They [police] don’t understand how it works,”he told the U.K.’sThe Daily Telegraph.”The website is very different from how the police are making it out tobe. I don’t sell music to people, I just direct them to it… if Googledirected someone to a site they can illegally download music they aredoing the same as what I have been accused of. I am not making any Oinkusers break the law.” He continues, “If somebody wants to illegallydownload music they are going to do it whether my site is there ornot.” The arrest and ensuing closure of the site is just the latest ina series of events marking a directionless, yet imminent sea change inmusic consumption and the business model of label heavyweights,exemplified by Radiohead’s recent breakthrough digital release, and on the other end of the spectrum, the guilty verdict and ensuing, exponential fines implemented on the first successfully prosecuted peer-to-peer file sharer.

Men’s Clothing Co. Varvatos CBGB Bound

In an development blatantly illustrating the death of downtown New York City’s once raucous and dilapidated punk scene, Gothamist.com reports men’s clothing giant John Varvatos has purchased the 13,000 square foot former locale of legendary venue CBGB at 315 Bowery — discussed by the Big Apple’s punk founders in Spin’s special issue on 1977, the year punk exploded. The venue, founded by now deceased icon Hilly Kristal, has laid empty since fall of last year, when a series of concertscelebrated its closure. And although Varvatos is a purveyor ofexpensive rags, the company’s namesake is an avid music fan, utilizingCBGB graduate Iggy Pop, as well as rockers Slash and Alice Cooperin his ad campaigns, and has even designed his own line of Converseshoes. Details regarding the installation, renovation, or preservationof the venue’s legendary bathrooms are have yet-to-be announced.

Noose Placed on Tupac Statue, Man Arrested for Hate Crime

Anunidentified man has been arrested in De Kalb County, GA on hate crimecharges stemming from a series of racial attacks at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, after a noose was tied around the neck of a statue of the seminal rapper and memorial namesake, AllHipHop.com reports.The incident, which occurred early Saturday morning (Oct. 20) in thecenter’s Peace Garden, has been under police investigation, as has asecond attack, in which vandals penned rants about Hurricane Katrinaand various, unidentified record labels.

“We thank everyone for their prayers and support,” Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakursaid. “Although our hearts are temporarily in pain, our spirits havealready forgiven the perpetrators. Hate comes in all colors and genderstherefore we will use this act of hate and ignorance to bring ourcommunity together and to pray for the healing of those who harbor suchfeelings.”

In response to the racially charged vandalism,Afeni Shakur is raising money to install a fence around the memorial.”With God’s guidance, the work of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for theArts and Peace Garden will continue to positively impact and transformour community,” she added.

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