For The Record: Quick News On Mary J. Blige, Baby, Mr. Cheeks, Queens Of The Stone Age, Jimmy Eat World & More

The first gold and platinum plaques of 2003 were doled out by the recording industry, for album sales of 500,000 and 1 million, respectively. Queens of the Stone Age, the White Stripes and Baby a.k.a the #1 Stunna were each awarded their first gold records. …

Producers/songwriters Kiyamma Griffin and Floyd Howard filed an $11 million lawsuit against Mary J. Blige, MCA Records and the singer’s Mary Jane Productions on January 24 that alleges fraud and breach of contract, among other complaints. They claim they’ve never been paid royalties for contributions to the tracks “Sexy” and “No Happy Holidays,” from 1999′s Mary; and “Flying Away,” “Destiny” and “2 U,” from 2001′s No More Drama. … An array of artists, including Blige, Musiq, Mark Anthony, India.Arie and Eric Clapton pay homage to Stevie Wonder on the tribute album Conception: An Interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s Songs, due March 18. The 14-track LP features selections from Wonder’s best albums, such as 1976′s Songs in the Key of Life and 1973′s Innervisions. A cover of “That Girl” by R&B singer Joe and rapper Mr. Cheeks began appearing at radio last week. …

LeAnn Rimes was forced to postpone her upcoming European tour after she and husband Dean Sheremet were hospitalized for severe cuts and bruises they suffered in a car accident with a drunk driver. Rimes was returning from filming a guest appearance on NBC’s “American Dreams” on January 31 when the accident occurred in Hollywood. She was treated and released from a local hospital, and the driver was arrested for driving under the influence. …

Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins and his promoter friend have started a label called Western Tread, based in their hometown of Phoenix. The imprint’s first release will be a vinyl version of Jimmy Eat World’s eponymous, self-titled LP that features the bonus track “Splash, Turn, Twist.” It will be followed by an EP by the duo the Format, who will release a full-length debut next year on Elektra Records. The label’s first full-length LP, due in early summer, will come courtesy of Phoenix’s Reubens Accomplice. …

Bret Michaels‘ fast-approaching 40th birthday (on March 15) has put him in a reflective mood. On April 22 the Poison vocalist will release Songs of Life, a solo album that looks back on all of the major events in his life, from the birth of his daughter Raine to the death of his uncle in Vietnam. … Jagermeister tour participants (Hed) Planet Earth are set to release their third album, Blackout, on March 18. The LP follows 2000′s Broke. The album’s title track surfaced at radio this week. …

02.06.03

Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera have set June 4 as the start date for their 45-date North American trek, dubbed the Justified and Stripped Tour. An itinerary has yet to be lined up, but the duo plan to hit major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston. …

Billie Joe Armstrong‘s lawyer entered an innocent plea on behalf of the Green Day singer in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday on two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. A pretrial hearing was set for February 19. Armstrong was arrested in Oakland, California, on January 5 after police pulled him over for suspicious driving. … City National Bank in Los Angeles is suing Suge Knight for failing to make payments on a yacht he purchased in the L.A. area. The music mogul owes more than $592,000 plus late fees on a loan, according to the Associated Press.

Former New Kids on the Block member Danny Wood will release a solo album, Second Face, on April 15. After NKOTB broke up in 1995, Wood produced tracks for Joey McIntyre‘s solo album. … Russell Crowe has recorded a duet with the PretendersChrissie Hynde for the next album from his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Due in April, the group’s sixth release will be titled Other Ways of Speaking and, for the first time, will include Crowe on the cover. …

PJ Harvey is in the middle of writing her sixth album, which she described to BBC Radio 1 as an “ugly-sounding batch of songs” that is “quite disturbing,” “dark” and “bluesy.” She previewed some of the material at this year’s Big Day Out Festival in Australia. The album will be the follow-up to 2000′s Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. … Taking advantage of the attention surrounding their Grammy nomination, Swedish garage rockers the Soundtrack of Our Lives are planning a North American tour. The 19-date trek will kick off March 15 in Orlando and wrap April 27 in Indio, California. …

The Calling recently shot a video for “For You,” their single from the “Daredevil” soundtrack, with director Meiert Avis (Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen). The Los Angeles rockers are now recording their follow-up to their debut, Camino Palmero.Jimmy Allen, the guitarist who co-wrote several of Puddle of Mudd‘s hits but left the band before they recorded Come Clean, has released an EP with his new band, Cut-Out. The group also has some Los Angeles shows lined up. …

Queensrÿche are hard at work completing their new studio album, which is tentatively titled Tribe. The disc should be ready shortly after April 22, when EMI re-issues four of the band’s classics: Queensrÿche (EP), The Warning Rage for Order and Operation: Mindcrime. A full U.S. tour will follow the releases. … Andrew W.K. has begun working on his second album, the follow-up to 2001′s I Get Wet, in a New York studio. The dirty-white-jeans-wearing maniac is producing the effort himself, and it’s expected to hit stores this summer, in time for his stint on the Warped Tour. …

Cold‘s third album, Year of the Spider, has been pushed back a week from its previously expected due date to an April 29 release. It will be preceded by the first single, “Stupid Girl.” … Transform seems an apt title for Powerman 5000‘s new album, given that Anyone for Doomsday?, which was to follow 1999′s Tonight the Stars Revolt, never came out as scheduled in 2001, and was scrapped entirely. The new 12-song LP carries a May 20 release. … The Cover Problem, the occasional side project of the Los Angeles band the Negro Problem, are dedicating an evening to Madonna covers on Friday at Spaceland in Hollywood. In the past, the group has performed Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon, Michael Jackson‘s Thriller and other classic albums. …