For The Record: Quick News On P. Diddy, DMX, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Big Pun, Mars Volta, Neko Case & More

P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, DMX, Ice Cube and the Cash Money Millionaires are among the rappers who appear in “Hip-Hop Story: Tha Movie,” the first production from NBA star Nick Van Exel‘s RapRock Films, due February 11. Smoot, the film’s star and Van Exel’s partner in the company, will release his debut on July 8 and will also appear on the movie’s soundtrack, due April 22. …

Avril Lavigne, Pink, Usher and the Clipse will be the first artists to participate in Arista Records’ new DVD singles series. The DVDs, due March 11 and packaged in CD jewel cases, will feature two videos apiece, along with bonus material. … On February 7, the third anniversary of Big Pun‘s death, his widow, Liza Rios, announced the establishment of the Big Pun Foundation at a press conference in the Bronx, New York. The non-profit organization will establish social programs for inner-city youth. …

The debut album by the Mars Volta, the electronic-inspired offshoot of defunct At the Drive-In, is set for a June release. While the album remains untitled, its packaging will be designed by Storm Thorgerson, who’s worked on classic covers such as Pink Floyd‘s The Division Bell and Wish You Were Here and the CranberriesBury the Hatchet. … Professional wrestler Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, who came to
prominence in the late ’80s and early ’90s with the American Wrestling
Association and the World Wrestling Federation, was found dead in his
hotel room in Brandon, Florida, on Monday at the age of
44, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The cause of death
has yet to be determined. In 1999, the Minnesota native embarked on a
“West Texas Rednecks” gimmick with World Championship Wrestling that saw
him team up with country artist Chad Brock against the No
Limit
Soldiers (including Master P and Silkk the
Shocker
) and record two songs, “Rap Is Crap” and “Good Old Boys.” …

According to his lawyer Robert Simels, former drug kingpin and Murder Inc. associate Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff remains in custody awaiting a February 28 court hearing in Baltimore for a gun-possession charge. He is also awaiting a hearing on another New York-based gun charge. In related news, Jon Ragin, McGriff’s partner for his independent film “Crime Partners,” who was arrested and indicted during last month’s FBI Murder Inc.-related raids, will be arraigned in Brooklyn, New York, on February 14 for one count of money laundering. …

… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have recorded five new tracks for an EP due March 25 on Interscope Records. Titled The Secret of Elena’s Tomb, the album will feature a track called “All Saints Day” and another dubbed “Mach Schau.” … The Smoking Popes will finally release The Party’s Over, the covers album recorded before their split in 1998 featuring songs by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, the Byrds and others, on March 25 on Double Zero Records. The same label is releasing a Smoking Popes tribute album the same day with songs from the Ataris, Bad Astronaut, Death on Wednesday and more. …

Jill Sobule, who “Kissed a Girl” in 1995, is on the verge of a comeback, recording her first album in three years and performing two songs on Wednesday’s episode of “The West Wing.” Creator Aaron Sorkin is apparently a fan of the singer/songwriter. … Canadian indie-rock supergroup the New Pornographers will release their second album, Electric Version, May 6 through Matador Records in the U.S. The group, whose members include Neko Case, Carl Newman (Zumpano), Kurt Dahle (Limblifter), John Collins (Thee Evaporators) and cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, have added guitarist/keyboardist Todd Fancey (Limblifter) in place of founding member Dan Bejar (Destroyer), whose singing and song contributions on Electric Version were limited. … Aforementioned alt-twang chanteuse Neko Case has launched the second leg of her U.S. tour in support of her 2002 release, Blacklisted. The 15-date trek, which began on February 6 in Chicago, will end March 30 in Seattle at the Experience Music Project. …

02.09.03

The Donnas were booted from their own after-show party at New York’s Belmont Lounge on Friday when the gals got a little too drunk and rowdy. The Strokes were there to witness and partake in the revelry, but the Used‘s Bert McCracken, who attended the show, couldn’t make the late night soiree. …

In an effort to increase the set time for bands, the fifth annual March Metal Meltdown will be extended to three days instead of the usual two. The heavy metal festival, set for March 7-9 in Irvington, New Jersey, will feature ’80s British metalheads Status Quo; Fozzy, featuring pro wrestler Chris Jericho; and hometown heroes Overkill, among many others. …

Though she’s known to take years between albums, Icelandic songstress Björk will follow-up her 2001 album Vespertine with a potential new album this summer, tentatively called LakeExperience, according to an oblique message on her official Web site. In the stream-of-consciousness post, Björk said that she has recorded “song a day. song a day. for how many days. I do not know. but some days.” Work-in-progress video snippets of new material featuring shots of coffee cups and laptops are available at www.bjork.com. … Faith Hill will perform a free concert for about 8,000 soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Thursday. Fort Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne Division and the Army Special Operations Command, and anyone with military I.D. may be admitted. …

Blur have announced that former Verve guitarist Simon Tong will accompany them on the road when they tour this summer. He will not, however, be joining as a full-time member. Blur have been without a guitarist since original axeman Graham Coxon left last year before the band started recording in Morocco. Singer Damon Albarn played guitar on most of the record, which comes out later this year. … If you think this year’s Lollapalooza lineup is too radio-friendly, you might want to check out Ipecac Records’ traveling road show, which will feature the Melvins, Tomahawk and Skeleton Key. The U.S. tour is tentatively scheduled to begin in late April or early May and additional bands may be announced in the coming weeks. …

Are the Flaming Lips the new go-to band for cred? First it was touring with Beck, then it was a Top of the Pops performance with Justin Timberlake. Now the Chemical Brothers are testing this theory — the British dance duo recently revealed plans to collaborate with the Oklahoma pop oddities on at least one new track on their upcoming, as-of-yet untitled album, according to their fan Web site Planet Dust. … On Friday, the recording industry filed an opposition to Verizon Internet Services, Inc.’s motion to postpone a judge’s ruling that the ISP must surrender the name of a person suspected of being the source for thousands of unlicensed song files. A federal judge had agreed to a subpoena filed by the RIAA in July that would force Verizon to give up the offender’s identity. Verizon opposed that order last month. …

Hold onto your mullets: Def Leppard are getting ready to play the U.S. The first of 17 scheduled shows is March 21 in Pittsburgh, and the dates run through May 4 in Atlanta. … Pigface, the Chicago industrial outfit revolving around ex-Ministry member Martin Atkins, are auctioning off an onstage wedding during their upcoming U.S. spring tour to promote their new album, Easy Listening. Fans can bid to win the chance nuptials on eBay until Valentine’s Day. …