For The Record: Quick News On Whitney Houston, Avril Lavigne, Talib Kweli, System Of A Down, Linkin Park, & More

John Houston, Whitney Houston's father, died Sunday of complications from diabetes and heart disease. John, who managed Whitney's career and her mother's before her, recently sued his daughter for $100 million, seeking compensation for helping to get a marijuana charge against her dismissed and for getting her a new record contract. ...

Three strikes is a charm for Avril Lavigne. When her latest single, "I'm With You," topped the Billboard Top 40 Monitor chart, the pop-rocker became the first debut artist since 1994 to clock in with three #1 singles in a row ("I'm With You" follows in the footsteps of "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi"). The last act to accomplish such a feat was Ace of Base. ...

Elliott Smith wears the benefit show cloak of mystery — the singer/songwriter is slated to appear as the surprise guest at an anti-war benefit concert for the Hollywood group Neighbors for Peace & Justice. The concert, called "Love Not War," will take place February 16 at Echo in Echo Park, California. ... The Wylde Ratttz, a supergroup featuring Mike Watt, Sean Lennon, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, Mudhoney's Mark Arm and others, have posted their unreleased recordings on their official Web site, www.wylderatttz.com. The group made an album after forming solely to record a cover of the Stooges "T.V. Eye" for the soundtrack to the 1998 flick "Velvet Goldmine," but it was never released due to contractual issues. ...

Comedian Richard Cheese and his lounge group Lounge Against the Machine have released a new CD, Tuxicity, on their Web site www.ideatown.com. The album features lounge covers of System of a Down's "Chop Suey!," Linkin Park's "One Step Closer" and the White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl," among others. ... Former Invisibl Skratch Piklz turntablists Apollo and Shortkut have teamed with fellow DJ Vinroc to form Triple Threat. The trio's debut, Many Styles, is due March 3 and features appearances from the X-ecutioners' Rob Swift and Roc Raida, Talib Kweli and Mystic. ...

Zero 7 are eyeing a spring release for the follow-up to their Short List-nominated album, Simple Things. Meanwhile, the British electronic pop collective has released a 3D video for their latest single, "In the Waiting Line," and a collection of remixes by Roni Size, Photek and others. ... In other British electronic scene news, Groove Armada cofounder Andy Cato has produced the debut album from the Weekend Players, which their spokesperson describes as "next century soul." Titled Pursuit of Happiness, the album is due March 11. ...

On May 13 the family of late Who bassist John Entwistle will auction off over 150 of the Ox's favorite basses and guitars at Sotheby's auction house. Included is a pink Fender Precision Bass Entwistle called Frankenstein because it was assembled from the parts of five smashed basses. ... Of all the successful artists to emerge from Sweden, Roxette have been ordained as pop royalty by the country's king. On Friday, Carl XVI Gustaf honored the pop group's Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson, along with 27 of the nation's top artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and academics. There's a good chance the royal advisers never gave the king a Hives album to listen to. ...

01.31.03

On Tuesday, 50 Cent will combat file-sharers by releasing the tracks from his upcoming Get Rich or Die Tryin' (due February 11) on Web sites such as Pressplay and Liquid Audio. Each track will cost — no, not 50 — 99 cents. ...

Jennifer Lopez will present an Oscar at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, scheduled for March 23 at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Nominations will be announced on February 11. ... "Living With Michael Jackson," a documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir, will air February 7 on ABC, which won a bidding war for the rights to the program. Bashir spent eight months with the singer and was with him during the notorious baby-dangling incident last fall. ...

Usher and Doug E. Fresh, author of the children's book "Think Again," have joined the lineup for the NBA's Read to Achieve Celebration on February 8 at Atlanta's Philips Arena. Both stars, along with players such as Yao Ming, will discuss the importance of reading at the event, which will also feature performances from Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, B2K and LL Cool J. ... Sean Paul, Shaggy and fellow dancehall star Buju Banton will headline the 22nd annual Bob Marley Day festival scheduled for February 15 and 16 in Long Beach, California. Damian, Julian and Stephen Marley will all perform separately, and Steel Pulse will hit the stage as well. ...

Hip-hop DJ Funkmaster Flex and shoemaker Lugz have teamed up to create the first urban driving shoe. The Funkmaster Flex FMF-1, which retails for $70 and comes in black, tan and white, hits the streets this week. ... No release date has been set yet, but Erykah Badu has named her new album Worldwide Underground. Among the tracks on the LP will be a remix of "Love of My Life," which features such microphone leading ladies as Bahamadia and Queen Latifah. ...

Singer Vince Neil's stint on the reality series "The Surreal Life" and bassistNikki Sixx's Brides of Destruction project aren't stopping Mötley Crüe from putting out records, or at least, re-releasing them. According to the band's Web site, the Crüe have inked a deal with Universal Music to reissue their entire catalog, with bonus tracks, on April 1. The band will also release another greatest-hits album (March 4) and a box set later in the year. ... With help from producers the Matrix, Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue) and others, 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey has completed about a dozen songs for his as-yet-untitled solo album, set to drop this summer. The new material is funky and more guitar-driven than that of his group, according to Lachey's spokesperson. Although one hasn't been chosen yet, a single is expected to surface at radio in April. ...

Jets to Brazil frontman Blake Schwarzenbach wrote on the band's Web site that the recent departure of drummer and founding member Chris Daly "leaves the Jet with a pretty sizeable hull breach." The long-running indie rock merchants, formed by Schwarzenbach after the dissolution of the band Jawbreaker, have invited drummers interested in filling the position to drop them an e-mail at distantwizard@hotmail.com. ... Year of the Spider, Cold's follow-up to 2000's 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, is set for release April 15. ...