Whitney Houston documentary hits theaters this weekend

WHITNEY HOUSTON:  New documentary Whitney  coming to theaters this weekend

In his documentary Whitney, director Kevin MacDonald "wanted people to see the human side of [Houston] and to understand her." He tells Billboard, "I was trying to understand her because she always seemed like such an enigma."

The film, which opens in theaters tomorrow (Friday), was made with the cooperation of the singer's family -- but MacDonald retained editorial control.

MacDonald's research led him to "understand a little more. I feel like understanding leads to compassion. There was a shortage of compassion around Whitney. There’s a narrative of her self-destruction... that was hard to sympathize with, but now I feel like I’m able to love her again and I hope the audience does as well."

While the movie -- which screened earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival -- is said to be quite revealing, one key figure in Whitney's life is absent: her rumored lover, Robyn Crawford. MacDonald corresponded with her for "several months" before "she declined [to participate] for her own reasons I can’t speculate about. "


MICHAEL McDONALD:  Many kind words for ex-bandmates

Despite his past roles in both The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, Michael McDonald isn't joining his old bandmates on this summer's package tour.

McDonald, who will soon do his own solo tour, deftly sidesteps a question his lack of participation in "Doobies and Dan." But he makes it clear that he remains friends with both groups.

Michael McDonald recently sidestepped a question on whether he was invited to join this summer's tour with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers:

"Pat had mentioned it and Tommy had mentioned it to me earlier, as much as a year ago. Although they weren't touring with Donald at that point. That's something that... the door's always open to, you know, we're all still very very close. And I'm so happy for those guys to see them playing the venues that they're playing."

He notes Steely Dan survivor Donald Fagen's "kindness over the years in including me in the original band back in the day and even in more recent years." He says it's something he really appreciates.

He's even clearer about his feelings about the Doobies:

"One of the all-time great American bands, with or without me. And I'm always open to anything where those guys are concerned. There's a part of me that will always be a Doobie Brother. Some of the best memories I've ever had in the music business. They're not lacking anything by me not being there. I think they, the band, they are The Doobie Brothers, and still one of the best bands. They sound as good as ever, better than ever, really."

Michael McDonald has solo shows this weekend in Indio and Healdsburg, California. He teams with Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross July 13th and 14th in a pair of special shows with symphonic backing at the Hollywood Bowl.

MEAT LOAF:  Manager says reports of a Meat Loaf tour he doesn't sing on aren't true

Meat Loaf's manager has dismissed a report out of England that says his client will announce a tour on which he will not sing.

Ken Levitan tells us the story in The Sun that claims Meat would turn the vocals over to 2014 American Idol winner Caleb Johnson while he told stories about the songs on a tour supposedly called Back Out of Hell is "not true."

Meat, who underwent back surgery earlier this year, is, according to Levitan, "still getting better.

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