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Tours de Farce: Horsing Around

12:00 AM Friday 4/26/02 | |

Is the animal kingdom revolting against its masters?

That's the question being asked by many music industry insiders today as Jewel becomes the latest victim of what many consider to be an animal culture gone mad.

Not since the mud shark incident in the early days of Led Zeppelin's career has the music business been so terrified of what can happen when animals are added to the volatile equation of musicians having fun. "Many music professionals looked the other way when Lyle Lovett was trampled by a bull last month," said one concert industry exec, "They tried to explain it as a freak accident. Now they're not so sure."

Needless to say, the recording industry feels threatened by the latest incident of bestial revenge. "We must protect our artists, like David Byrne, APU and Sizzla, from the ruthless and selfish intentions of nature," said RIAA president Hilary Rosen in a statement issued on the trade organization's Website. "Which is why we're forming a new committee, the Secure Dumb Mammalian Initiative (SDMI), to study the affects of animal behavior in the Internet age."

But there are others who feel, that when it comes to animals and musicians, the critters are getting a raw deal. Animal psychic John Edward, host of the Pox Television Network's Horsing Over, claims that animals are merely misunderstood. "I've communicated with many famous horses that have passed on - Trigger, Mr. Ed, even Flicker - and they all love Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Phil Lesh & Friends," claims Edward. "Of course, I've said this so many times that some people accuse me of beating a dead horse."

However, conventional wisdom says that a horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course. And since it was a horse that threw Jewel, one can't help but wonder, who's next? How can artists like Beth Orton and Paul McCartney take steps to protect themselves from the Hitchcock-like specter of the animal world run amuck?

So far, the only musician to take matters into his own hands and stand up to the violent denizens of the animal kingdom is Ozzy Osbourne, known for his perfect record of successfully warding off crazed birds and flying rodents. However, even Ozzy's battle against the forces of nature seems to have been waylaid, as recently revealed on MTV when the star of Ozzfest 2002 shouted out, "Sharon! I thought we agreed. No more cats!"