Australian News 4/20

Big Venue Fines

The Federal Magistrates Court fined two venues for playing recorded music without a license from the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA).

The association had repeatedly tried to contact the operators – Cougar Tavern, which traded as Options Tavern in Helenavale in Queensland, and Backdraft, trading as Heat nightclub at the Crown complex in Melbourne – but was ignored.

The companies are independent but have a common director, Robert Botazzi. APRA complained it had taken similar action against Botazzi when he had run nightclubs Gossip and Abbey Road/Studio 54.

Magistrate Raphael imposed a fine of $27,780 for copyright infringement, and then topped up the fine to $355,000 to be "both punitive and a deterrent."


Hoax Over Wheatley Home Detention

A new reality TV series based on talent manager and promoter Glenn Wheatley has proven to be a hoax, with Wheatley the victim.

Wheatley, who engineered the success stories of John Farnham and Little River Band, was given permission by the Victorian Adult Parole Board to finish off his 15-month jail sentence for tax evasion on home detention.

A day after the decision was made public, Sydney publicist and publisher Phil Tripp announced his company Immedia! was to make a 13-week reality TV series called "Soft Cell: Music Mogul Mansion’s Crime Crib" on his new life at home.

Filming was to start May 19, when Wheatley is due to leave Beechworth Prison.

But a day later, Tripp confessed that it was a hoax, meant to prove how the media was so celebrity-obsessed that it ran stories without checking.

Wheatley’s family was furious, and nervous that this unwarranted publicity might endanger the decision to let him go home.

But Tripp e-mailed the parole board of his stunt, and Wheatley will go home as scheduled.


Short Notes

Australia gave k.d. lang her first No. 1 album anywhere in the world. Her Watershed jumped to the top spot from No. 38 in the week beginning April 14 just as her tour for Dainty Consolidated Entertainment began.

Tour promoter Andrew McManus Presents has appointed Helen Williams its national marketing manager. The role was previously outsourced. Williams was previously marketing manager at Warner Music Australia and Festival Mushroom Records.

Jean Reid, manager of Sydney-based Aloha Management, has left the company.

She is relocating to Los Angeles and will join the Australian government’s export body Austrade. Aloha’s roster includes Shihad, COG, Faker and Sparkadia.

Patrons who can prove they have attended Splendour in The Grass five or more times have the chance to join the Splendour Member Club for access to first-release tickets.

Scott Peter Romano of Brisbane heavy metal band Mortal Sin And Misery was jailed for 12 months for his part in a Friday 13 Satanic ritual. The 28-year-old and four others stole a pet goat named Maddie and drove it to a local church, where they cut its throat.

Craig Hutchinson, part owner of Perth’s Claremont Hotel, resigned as a director from its licensee company.

He was in the hot seat after media ran photos of him doing "laybacks" – pouring alcohol down peoples’ throats as they lay back over the bar – with a female patron, triggering an investigation by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. Hutchinson’s business partners released a terse statement saying he had resigned "by mutual agreement."

Elton John will play a single New Zealand show in Auckland, at Vector Arena on May 14. He missed out in the city when he played NZ last December, when he was at New Plymouth’s Bowl of Brooklands, and in Wellington at the end of 2006.