For The Record: Quick News On Dave Grohl, Moby, Ja Rule, Tenacious D, Mary J. Blige, Big Tymers & More

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl will return to his place behind the drumkit when he backs up portly powerhouses Tenacious D on an episode of “Mad TV” that is set to air on April 27. Grohl and the D performed the dynamic duo’s latest single, “Tribute,” with a full band at Friday’s taping, just hours before the busy bee played session drummer for another of his favorite bands, Queens of the Stone Age, while they previewed tracks from their upcoming Songs for the Deaf during a one-off showcase at L.A.’s Troubadour. … Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige and Brandy are among the artists who have contributed items to an auction to raise money for BET’s AIDS awareness campaign, Rap-It-Up. The auction, at www.bet.com/rapitup, begins March 18, the same day public service announcements from Ja Rule begin airing on the network. (MTV’s parent company, Viacom, also owns BET.)

Love Songs for New York, a compilation of previously unreleased tracks about the Big Apple from Moby (“Memory Gospel”), Cornershop (“Returning From the Wreckage”), Afrikaa Bambaataa (a cover of Melanie‘s “Lay Down [Candles in the Rain]“), the Mekons (“I Heart an Apple”) and 14 others, is being offered by Village Voice Media (www.villagevoice.com). All proceeds will benefit the September 11 fund. … In other Moby news, he will compete against Madonna, Pink, Jennifer Lopez and Kim English for the Best Chart Act at the DanceStar USA Awards on March 24 at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. The Crystal Method, Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, BT, Chemical Brothers and Paul Oakenfold are nominated in other categories. …

The Big Tymers — Cash Money CEO Brian “Baby” Williams and producer Mannie Fresh — will release their fourth album, Hood Rich, on April 30. “Still Fly,” described by their spokesperson as “a celebration of ghetto fabulous,” will be the first single. … Korn and Limp Bizkit producer Ross Robinson and his I Am Recordings imprint have moved from Virgin Records to Artistdirect Records. Robinson will continue to handle A&R activity, talent development and studio production for the imprint, which was housed with Roadrunner Records before it went to Virgin. … Come late summer, Ozzfest vets Taproot plan to have a new Gift for their fans. They’re in the studio working on the follow-up to their 2000 breakthrough, which is tentatively titled Welcome.

British electronic outfit Zero 7 will kick off their first North American tour April 15 in Philadelphia. The month-long outing, which will feature an 11-piece band, ends May 5 in Portland. … Australian neo-grunge band Silverchair canceled a March 16 appearance at the Gone South festival in Hobart, Australia, since frontman Daniel Johns contracted a rare virus that attacked his joints and caused severe swelling to his knees. While the singer has suffered from the condition since Christmas, doctors expect him to make a full recovery. … Nappy Roots and Course of Nature will join Jamie Kennedy and other stars of the WB Network on a 10-show tour to promote the station’s programming. WB on Tour kicks off April 1 in Los Angeles and wraps up April 18 in Atlanta. … Lo-fi faves Elf Power will release their fifth album, Creatures, on May 7 through SpinART. … New Yorkers can usher in St. Patrick’s Day with the help of the inimitable Shane McGowan and the Popes on March 16 at the Roseland Ballroom. The group’s Across the Broad Atlantic, which captures their 2001 St. Paddy’s gigs in New York and Dublin, was released last month. …

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Who else could bring together the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Ryan Adams and Brian McKnight but pigtailed country crooner Willie Nelson? These artists, as well as Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and Matchbox Twenty‘s Rob Thomas, will salute the Redheaded Stranger at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on April 14 in a tribute concert which is scheduled to air on the A&E network on May 6, according to the Los Angeles Times. … While they take a breather from their group-related activities, 98 Degrees will tide fans over on May 7 with the greatest-hits album The Collection. The LP includes the new single “Why,” due Tuesday. … Pete Yorn will launch a spring tour April 4 in San Diego that will hit more than a dozen cities before wrapping with an April 27 performance at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. Yorn recently filmed the video for his latest single, “Strange Condition.” …

Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar, current Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Journey guitarist Neil Schon and Journey drummer Deen Castronovo have decided to call their new group Planet Us. The group has recorded two songs, “Vertigo” and “Peeping Through a Hole,” but don’t plan on reconvening until the fall when Hagar and Journey return from their summer tours. … The Eagles‘ next disc, which is expected in early 2003, may be released without major-label distribution. Last week, Don Henley told Billboard the group’s first studio album since 1979′s The Long Run might only be available on the Internet and “certain superstore chains.” … Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate has completed his first solo album, Old World Order, which he plans to release in June. He has scheduled Seattle gigs for May 31 and June 12. …

Following in the tradition of notable video-to-silver-screen directors such as Spike Jonze, David Fincher, McG and Hype Williams, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” auteur Samuel Bayer will be making his feature-film debut with a remake of the 1974 Sam Peckinpah cult crime classic “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia,” according to Variety. The movie is scheduled to star Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro. … Surrealist artist Mati Klarwein, whose paintings made an indelibly psychedelic impression on record covers for Santana (Abraxas), Miles Davis (Bitches Brew, Live/Evil) and many more, died last Wednesday of unspecified causes in Mallorca, Spain, according to The Associated Press. He was 70. …

Sensitive heavy rockers Staind have set a tentative August 21 release date for the “Staind: MTV Unplugged” DVD. The eleven-song set includes acoustic versions of “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside” as well as two un-aired performances, backstage interviews, and original videos for
“Mudshovel” and “Fade.” … Jay-Z‘s 1996 LP Reasonable Doubt finally earned a platinum plaque last month, the RIAA said. Double-platinum designations went to Mary J. Blige for No More Drama and to P.O.D. for Satellite, while the StrokesIs This It and Cold‘s 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage were certified gold. …

Fatboy Slim hosted a listening party at the Maison 140 hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday night for his mix album, Live on Brighton Beach, due April 30. Cher was on hand, along with actors Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano and Taryn Manning. … Cher’s been getting around the dance music scene, as she attended a release party last week in New York City for Barry Harris & Chris Cox Present Thunderpuss, due March 19, where she performed her new single, “Song for the Lonely.” Thunderpuss, who will host future release parties in Washington, D.C. (March 16), San Francisco (April 13) and Miami (April 27), remixed Cher’s single for clubs, while Cox co-produced “Love One Another” from her Living Proof.

Drowning Pool and Saliva are both scheduled to perform during the World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view “Wrestlemania X8,” which airs live from Toronto on March 17. Their songs “Tear Away” and “Superstar,” respectively, are the “official themes” of the event. … Superproducers the Neptunes and singer/songwriter Shay — a.k.a. N*E*R*D — will perform on “The Late Show With David Letterman” on March 20. … Wee, teensy pop star Kylie Minogue is the musical guest on the March 16 episode of Saturday Night Live. … Hip-hop educator Lauryn Hill is off to the Caribbean to perform at the nine-day St. Lucia Jazz Festival along with acts such as India.Arie, En Vogue and Smokey Robinson. The open-air event starts May 3, with Hill taking the stage on May 11. …

Superjoint Ritual, a metal collective featuring Pantera‘s Phil Anselmo on vocals and guitar, will release their debut album, Use Once and Destroy, on May 21. The band also features Hank Williams III on bass, Eyehategod drummer Jimmy Bower (who also plays with Anselmo in Down), guitarist Kevin Bond (who plays in Williams‘ main band) and drummer Joseph Fazzio (Demonseeds, Stressball). … Boyz II Men are in the studio with Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and other producers recording tracks for their fifth album, due in late April or early May. “Color of Love” is likely to be the first single. … Kinks guitarist Dave Davies will release his first solo studio album in nearly two decades, Bug, on May 7. A tour for the disc starts in April 24 in New York and runs through March 19 in Omaha, Nebraska.