Backstage Notes from the Video Music Awards

By | August 29, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Back to host the MTV Video Music Awrds after a brief hiatus, Chris Rock said his decision to return was a matter of timing. “I was looking for the culture to change a little bit, and it did,” he said.

He saluted past host Jimmy Fallon from “Saturday Night Live” and held out hope that another favorite comic of his eventually gets a chance to host. “Chris Tucker would be great doing this thing,” he said.

Next up for Rock is the Black Ambition Tour, which will have him performing stand-up around the country. But first, he said, he was going to get some sleep. Defending his decision not to celebrate at post-VMA parties around town, he said: “I worked for three hours. Everyone else does five minutes and sits down.”

They may have presented best female video with Jimmy Fallon, but the Fab Five from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” will not be giving the “Saturday Night Live” star a makeover anytime soon. On the other hand, fashion expert Carson Kressley did express interest in another heterosexual: “I’d like to ask 50 Cent if he has change for a dollar, if you know what I mean,” he joked. Culture maven Jai Rodriguez had his eyes on another musician, Beyonce, whose taste in jewelry he gave the thumbs-up. Not to be outdone on the music scene, the “Queer” quintet said the series’ theme song will be released as a single.

Another Fab Five at the VMAs was Duran Duran, the ’80s pop quintet who picked up the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award.

Guitarist John Taylor believes today’s artists have a tougher time than he did. “It’s a lot harder to make a cool video today than it was back then,” he said. “We were lucky to come along when the technology was new.”

Asked who they were impressed the most by, drummer Roger Taylor turned to his fellow U.K. musicians Coldplay. “It’s really good to see them here,” he said.

Duran Duran hopes to have another album out next year and is shopping for a new record label.

He’s starred in movies like “Shallow Hal” and performed as one-half of the mock-rock act Tenacious D, but there’s no question which side of the business VMA cutup Jack Black prefers. “Rock is more exciting,” he said. “But movies pay the bills. I have yet to make one red cent in the music business.”

It’s probably safe to say the only two artists wearing neckties at the VMAs were the members of the rap duo OutKast. But Andre 3000 and Big Boi will establish more distinctive identities for the upcoming double-CD album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” coming out Sept. 23. The release is actually solo albums from each artist paired together. But it’s not entirely separate, Big Boi said. “We appear on both each other’s albums,” he said. “It’s another funk adventure.”

Fresh off of a guitar solo in a sizzling number from Christina Aguilera, Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro reeled off a list of other divas he has backed up, including Mariah Carey and Michelle Branch. But his dream leading lady?

“I’d like to do a collaboration with Madonna,” he said. “I think that would be exciting.”

For now, he’s got another leading lady to concentrate on: He plans to wed Carmen Electra in November. Navarro is even considering turning the nuptials into a reality TV program because he “didn’t want to go through all the trouble of hiring a videographer.”

The highlight of the evening for the cast members of MTV’s “Making the Band” was the opening monologue from host Chris Rock, when the comedian mocked the show. “The hottest part was when Chris Rock made fun of us,” Frederick said. As for the combustible personalities in the “Band,” Babs stressed that their careers come first. “We had our difficulties as a group, but when it was time to record, we came together and we made hot music,” she said.

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