For The Record: Quick News On Ashanti, B2K, ‘American Idol 2,’ Aerosmith, Jane’s Addiction, Jimi Hendrix & More

Ashanti, Fat Joe and B2K are among the artists scheduled to perform at a benefit for boxer Evander Holyfield‘s Main Event children’s charity in Atlanta on February 15. Jadakiss, Baby and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are also on the bill. …

Memorable “American Idol 2″ semifinalist Frenchie Davis has been cut from the contest because Fox discovered she worked for an adult Internet site four years ago. Davis will be replaced on the show airing February 25. … “Platinum,” network television’s first drama set in the world of hip-hop, will premiere on UPN April 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following a sneak peek at the series airing the day before. MTV will re-air each weekly episode seven to 10 days after UPN’s broadcast. …

Jane’s Addiction are promising their long-awaited new album by summer. “We don’t know a release date … but we can guarantee it will be out before Lollapalooza,” singer Perry Farrell said. … A live version of Weezer‘s “Why Bother,” Ben Kweller‘s previously unreleased “It’s Not There” and songs from Phantom Planet and AM Radio are featured on A Benefit for Petra Haden, a fundraiser for the That Dog violinist who was severely injured when hit by a car in August 2000. Beck, Jack Black and Matthew Sweet have raised money in the past for Haden, who also recorded with Green Day, the Rentals and Luscious Jackson. …

Aerosmith closed out a benefit party for three major charities at Boston’s Charles Hotel Regattabar on Saturday by playing a 10-song set. Highlights came when Dan Aykroyd stepped onstage for a song and Michael J. Fox picked up a guitar and joined the band for a version of Chuck Berry‘s “Johnny B. Goode,” which Fox performed in the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” The event was organized by Fox, Denis Leary and former NHL player Cam Neely. … The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently wrote a letter to Aerosmith asking for permission to use the song “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” for an anti-meat TV campaign. If approved, the song would be featured in a commercial about fighting the condition gynecomastia, otherwise known as “man breasts,” by becoming a vegetarian. Says PETA: “Gynecomastia is the accumulation of breast tissue caused by excessive qualities of estrogenlike substances that can be traced to meat, milk and eggs.” …

The surviving members of the Grateful Dead, who retired the group’s name after the death of frontman Jerry Garcia and dubbed themselves the Other Ones, are now calling themselves the Dead, according to the Associated Press. Guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart will begin using their new moniker — which has served as their unofficial nickname for years — at a Valentine’s Day benefit concert in San Francisco. … The remains of legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix have been moved from their initial site to a new elaborate memorial in the same burial ground, Greenwood Memorial Park and Cemetery, just outside Seattle, according to the AP. While the first grave site was marked only by a simple flat stone reading “Forever in Our Hearts – James M. Jimi Hendrix 1942-1970,” the new memorial features a granite dome nearly 30 feet high supported by granite columns trimmed in “rainbow” marble. …

Former Black Flag singer Keith Morris appears on a track called “We’ve Had Enough” on the Alkaline Trio‘s new album, Good Mourning. Due May 13, the project was produced by Joe McGrath (Blink-182) and Jerry Finn (Green Day). … O.A.R. are working on their fifth album, the studio effort In Between Now and Then, with producer John Alagia. The roots-rock quintet’s major-label debut is set to drop May 27, with a bonus DVD that includes live versions of two new tracks, as well as a concert take on the gig staple “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker.” The live material will be recorded at a February 18 show at New York’s Irving Plaza. …

Postpunk quintet Sense Field are working on their as-yet-untitled successor to 2001′s Tonight and Forever in their Dense Flies studio, located in El Segundo, California. Produced by Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Pete Yorn), the LP is due in early August. … Depeche Mode‘s Martin Gore and David Gahan have set spring release dates for their upcoming solo albums. Gore’s Counterfeit2, a collection of covers of John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop songs, is due April 28, while Gahan’s as-yet-untitled debut is set for June 2. …

02.11.03

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. …