CAGED HEAT From the New York Dolls to Jane’s Addiction, gender bending is a time-honored rock tradition. But not everyone likes men in tights. Just ask Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon, whose predilection for cross-dressing led to his being locked up by Italian police for more than five hours. Nobacon, clad in ”a short black skirt and panty hose, which I often wear,” was sight-seeing on the streets of Florence on Nov. 28 when police stopped him for questioning. Then, says Nobacon, ”they carted me off to jail, supposedly because I didn’t have my passport with me. But the real reason was that I offended their masculinity.” Nobacon was finally released after a plainclothes detective read a note the singer had written explaining who he was. ”Fortunately, [’Tubthumping’] was on the charts that week, and the guy knew Chumbawamba,” says Nobacon. Maybe the band should make a few adjustments to the song’s chorus: ”I get locked up, but I get out again, you’re never gonna keep me jailed!”
PEARL DROP Those jonesing for new Pearl Jam music should start listening to the radio right now. On Nov. 26, a handful of radio stations got hold of the band’s upcoming single ”Given to Fly” and began playing it, a month before its scheduled release. No one seems to know who leaked the single, but Pearl Jam’s label, Epic Records, issued a cease and desist order Dec. 1. Still, some stations are defiantly playing the song. ”What happened is that some people taped it and downloaded it over the Internet,” says John Boulus, Epic’s senior vice president of promotions. ”Every day we have to tell someone to stop playing it.” Boulus admits that the early exposure is not all bad: ”It helps build excitement.” Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis says the band is ”disappointed” by the leak: ”It means that only a few people got to hear it, instead of all the fans who deserved to.” Curtis denies that the title of Pearl Jam’s upcoming album, Yield (due Feb. 3), is a message to radio programmers.