For The Record: Quick News On R. Kelly And Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Deftones, Norah Jones, Stray Cats & More

R. Kelly is staying busy while deciding what his next official single will be. He recently finished producing and singing on a remix of Marques Houston's "That Girl," and Kelly's spokesperson said that in addition to the work he's done recently for Beyoncé, Swizz Beatz and Cam'ron, there's also talk of him collaborating once again withJay-Z. ...

Britney Spears continues to plug away at her upcoming album. Her label, Jive, estimates that she should be done recording in mid-May, at which point they'll set a release date. ... The Deftones will launch a guerilla club tour in May to support their self-titled fourth album, due May 20. Each show will be announced the day before. ...

The original Big Willie will be celebrating his 70th birthday receiving love from his friends and fans. Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Wyclef Jean, Eric Clapton and Sheryl Crow will be among those onstage for the tribute concert Willie Nelson and Friends: Live and Kickin'. Although Nelson doesn't turn 70 until April 30, the bash will take place on April 9 at New York's Beacon Theatre. ... Michelle Branch will make a guest appearance during the third season of "The Chris Isaak Show," which is shooting now and will begin airing in the fall. Poison singer Bret Michaels has also filmed an episode. ...

The Stray Cats are reuniting for their first live performance in over a decade. Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom will take the stage at Irvine, California's annual Hootenanny festival on July 5. Tickets for the show go on sale Saturday. ... Members of the Vandals are suing each other over the credits of a song used in the Vin Diesel movie "XXX." Former members Steve "Stevo" Jensen and Steve "Human" Pfaufer dispute that current bassist Joe Escalante owns the sole credit on "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," which he gave the movie permission to use. Escalante filed a $6 million suit against his former bandmates in Los Angeles Superior Court, charging interference with a contract, while Jensen and Pfaufer are looking into filing a countersuit. A settlement hearing is scheduled in Los Angeles for June 27. ...

Third Eye Blind will play the Kinks and sing "All Day and All of the Night" in an upcoming episode of the NBC drama "American Dreams," filming on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles this week. ... Sugar Ray have set a June 3 release date for their fifth album, In the Pursuit of Leisure, which was produced by longtime collaborator David Kahne (Sublime) and features a cover of Joe Jackson's 1979 hit, "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" Steven Murashige (Rage Against the Machine) directed the video for the first single, "Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy)," which Mark McGrath and company will certainly play when they kick off an arena tour with Matchbox Twenty on April 25 in New Orleans. ...

K-Ci and JoJo were arrested on tax-evasion charges over the weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. The brothers, who are accused of failing to pay taxes for shows performed in the state in 1999, 2000 and 2001, were freed on bail Sunday and said they had no prior knowledge of the tax problem. ... Trey Anastasio will embark on a 10-date solo tour starting May 26 in New York. On July 7, the jam maestro will join his band Phish for a month of shows beginning in Phoenix, Arizona. ... British rockers South will release the follow-up to their From Here on In LP on August 26. Dave Eringa (Idlewild) produced the album, titled With the Tides. ...

04.07.03

Before his third solo album, Chicken & Beer, drops later this year, we'll hear Ludacris on the majority of the "2 Fast 2 Furious" soundtrack, due May 20. The mouth of the South has the lead single, "Act a Fool," and will shoot the "Cannonball Run"-themed video for it next week. ...

Staind will play a handful of free shows to coincide with the release of their fourth album, 14 Shades of Grey. Performances are slated for Boston (May 15), New York (May 17), Los Angeles (May 20) and Chicago (May 23). Meanwhile, the LP's first single, "Price to Play," surfaced at radio over the weekend, and a video has been shot with directors the Brothers Strause. ... Avril Lavigne was the big winner at Sunday's Juno Awards (the Canadian version of the Grammys), taking home four trophies: Best Album and Best Pop Album for Let Go, Best Single for "Complicated" and Best New Artist. Shania Twain won three awards, while Sum 41, Alanis Morissette, Remy Shand, Our Lady Peace, Theory of a Dead Man and Eminem (Best International Album) each won one. ...

Maybe he should switch his name to Cool J LL. As much as the ladies are enamored with him, James Todd Smith obviously loves the women right back. First there was Amerie, then J. Lo. Now LL Cool J's collaboration with newcomer Kandice Love, "Amazin'," will see release as his next single. ... Ashanti's follow-up to her self-titled debut is set for a July 1 release, according to her label. There is no title yet. ...

In one of the stranger billings of late, Kiss will join Nelly, Christina Aguilera, Michelle Branch, JC Chasez and others at the KIIS-FM's Wango Tango festival on May 17 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Santana, Lisa Marie Presley, Daniel Bedingfield, O-Town, Sugar Ray, Craig David, Sting, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bowling for Soup, Tyrese and Amanda Perez are also on the bill. ... Forget Miami, New York or Los Angeles: 112 are once again recording in the real hotbed for musicmaking — Nashville. The foursome have been holed up in the studio knocking out tracks for their latest LP, which will be released later this year as a joint venture between Def Jam and Bad Boy. ...

Def Jam is planning a Def Jam Vendetta Tour, set to kick off soon. Keith Murray, who will release his He's Keith Murray LP on April 29, is the first act announced for the outing. ... The Ying Yang Twins have their sights set on July to release their new LP, Me and My Brother. The first single is called "Naggin," but they've already dropped the white-label buzz starter "Get Low," featuring Lil Jon, in the South. ... After a couple of years of appearing on albums by everyone from R. Kelly to Fat Joe to Ja Rule to the Big Tymers, Boo & Gotti are finally putting out their debut LP, Perfect Time, on May 6. The first single is called "Ain't It Man" and features fellow Cash Money family member Lil' Wayne. ...

Ron Sexsmith has signed on to open for Coldplay on their upcoming U.S. tour, beginning May 24 in George, Washington. In conjunction, the singer/songwriter is releasing "Gold in Them Hills," a duet with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, as the next video and single from his 2002 album, Cobblestone Runway. ... Atomic Kitten, the group behind four top five single in the U.K. last year, will release their self-titled U.S. debut on April 22. The group's first single is a cover of Blondie's "Tide Is High," which is also featured in the upcoming "The Lizzie McGuire Movie." ... Spymob, the Minneapolis band that served as N.E.R.D.'s backing musicians on their album and tour, will release their debut, Sitting Around Keeping Score, on the Neptunes' Star Track label on July 22. Stephen Lironi (Hanson) produced most of the album, which includes the single "It Gets Me Going," told from a dog's perspective. ...