For The Record: Quick News On Usher, Menudo, Alicia Keys, Lynyrd Skynyrd And Saddam, Evanescence & More

Alicia Keys and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds will host the 18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, which will air live March 20 from the International Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Outkast, R. Kelly, Nelly, Murphy Lee, Jermaine Dupri, Usher, Ruben Studdard, Anthony Hamilton, Erykah Badu, Ron Isley and Michelle Williams are scheduled to perform. …

Evanescence will release “Everybody’s Fool” as the fourth single from Fallen. The band is currently writing the follow-up album. … All those boy-band fans out there lying in wait for the next Backstreet Boys album have a new reason to live: The shape-shifting cute-boy troupe Menudo, which launched the career of Ricky Martin, is being resurrected. The international search for boys ages 10-14 interested in joining the outfit, touted as having “a contemporary hip urban/Latin crossover sound in both English and Spanish,” begins in New York this summer. …

The Army’s 4th Infantry Division didn’t give Saddam Hussein three steps toward the door of the rat hole in which they found him in December, and for that they might be treated to “Gimme Three Steps,” “Gimme Back My Bullets” “On the Hunt,” “That Smell” and other Lynyrd Skynyrd hits when the band performs especially for the Saddam-routing troops. The Tribute to Heroes event is scheduled for April 22 at Fort Hood, Texas. … The recording industry’s crusade against illegal file-sharers hit a stumbling block Friday when a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that 203 individuals could not be lumped into one collective lawsuit. Instead, in order to gain the identity of the so-called “John Doe” defendants, the RIAA must offer evidence against each alleged song-swapper individually, at a cost of $150 in court fees each. More than 800 lawsuits, in Atlanta; Orlando, Florida; New York; Washington, D.C.; and Trenton, New Jersey, remain outstanding. The RIAA was forced to employ John Doe suits after a federal court prevented it from obtaining the identities of alleged pirates from their ISPs without a judge’s signature. …

The Crystal Method were the big winners at Tuesday’s Dancestar USA Awards, taking home trophies for Best Act, Best Album (Legion of Boom) and Best Single (“Born Too Slow”). The Chemical Brothers, Madonna and Paris Hilton (Best Celebrity DJ) were also awarded at the ceremony, the climax of the annual Winter Music Conference in Miami. Moby was honored for his Outstanding Contribution to Dance Music and won Best Music DVD. … Calling all axemen: Jagged Edge are looking for players to get down with them on a new album they’re mapping out called Ghetto Guitar. The group says it wants to incorporate guitar into all the tracks on the album. Prince and Slash are two guitarists on the ATL singers’ wish list. … Prince’s concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 29 will be broadcast in 32 Regal Cinemas movie theaters around the country. The show is the kickoff of his upcoming Musicology Tour. …

Original Kiss drummer Peter Criss is again out of the band. In a post on his Web site, Criss said that his contract with the group has expired and neither he nor his attorney has been contacted about an extension for future touring. Kiss are expected to rehire Eric Singer for their upcoming tour of Japan, which starts May 27 in Tokyo. … Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has applied for a marriage license thorough the Pierce County Auditor’s office, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Novoselic’s fiancée is 41-year-old artist Darbury Ayn Stenderu. …

Goths rarely rejoice, but they might crack a smile when they hear that Siouxsie and the Banshees frontwoman Siouxsie Sioux will play 14 shows starting May 19 in Seattle and running through June 9 in New York. The show, billed as “An Evening With Siouxsie: The Creatures & The Banshees,” will feature two hours of material from her 25-year career. … John McGeoch, a punk guitarist who has worked with Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magazine and Public Image Ltd., died in his sleep on Thursday at the age of 48. No further details on his death are available. In 1995, McGeoch gave up touring and got a degree in nursing, however he continued to write music. In a post on his Web site, Banshees bassist Steve Severin said, “He was always in my heart and often in my thoughts. Without a doubt, he was the most inventive guitarist of our generation and my favorite Banshee.” …

Truth Hurts and Raphael Saadiq have finished up work on her next LP. Set for released through Saadiq’s Pookie Entertainment Label on May 11, Truth has titled her sophomore album Ready Now. The first single is the title track and comes out March 30. … In an underground hip-hop union of the minds, Long Island, New York, rapper MF Doom and Los Angeles producer/MC Madlib will become Madvillain in their first full-length collaboration. The album, Madvillainy, will see release on March 23. …

Pioneering German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten will play 15 shows in North America, starting April 23 in Washington, D.C., and running through May 16 in Asheville, North Carolina. The band is touring to support its new album, Perpetuum Mobile, which came out last month. … Thuggish metal-rap band 3rd Strike have broken up. The band has posted a message on its Web site that reads in part, “Sorry people, it’s true. Thanks to all our loyal fans.” The group’s debut album, Lost Angel, was released in 2002. … The High Times stoner-metal compilation The Stoner Rock Collection has been delayed a few weeks from its previously announced date of May 4. The disc will feature songs by Corrosion of Conformity, Unida, the Hidden Hand, Clutch and others. …

03.09.2004

Seven years ago Tuesday (March 9), the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles, a murder that remains unsolved. Several hip-hop artists are gathering in New York for a tribute show to Biggie and other fallen rappers to mark the occasion. Scheduled to appear at B.B. King’s Blues Club Tuesday night are Mos Def, Gang Starr, Busta Rhymes and M.O.P., who will unveil their new rock band. …

Cam’ron, Dame Dash and Farnsworth Bentley were among the hip-hop notables who reached out to the kids on Saturday in New York for the launch of the “Read 2 Succeed” literacy program. They were all on hand at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for the initiative, which is sponsored by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the National Urban League with support from the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council. … A week after launching a do-it-yourself Jay-Z remix package, the creators of the Jay-Z Construction Set have set up a blog for people to share their various remixes. It can be found at www.jayzconstructionset.com/hype. …

Jurors in the trial of Jesus Mezquia, accused of raping and killing punk singer Mia Zapata of Seattle band the Gits in 1993, will have to decide if the DNA evidence that led to his arrest last year is enough to convict him of murder. Mezquia, 49, was nabbed when DNA taken from Zapata’s body matched the DNA that was entered into a database for convicted felons after he had been busted for burglary. … For the first time, an officially sanctioned version of 1985′s Live Aid concert is coming to home video. After concert organizers, who include Boomtown RatsBob Geldof, noticed bootleg copies available online, they decided to auction off the DVD distribution rights to the 12-hour, two-city event, which raised money to combat famine in Africa. Money raised through the auction will benefit the Band Aid Trust, which continues to provide for the poor and hungry in Ethiopia. The video is expected to be available by the end of the year. …

Eleven new dates have been tacked on to the Strokes‘ U.S. tour, beginning May 2 in Nashville. The trek, which kicked off Tuesday to support the band’s second album, Room on Fire, will now wrap up with a hometown gig on May 19 in New York. … Rapper Lyrics Born has recorded a remix of his single “Callin’ Out,” to be released soon. The new version features the colorful vocabulary of E-40 and the boasts of Casual. …

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry continues to encourage fans to play around with his Boneyard Brew hot sauce. And for those who can’t take the heat, there’s still the free Boneyard Brew video game “Genie Joe and the Axeman,” at www.starmountainstudios.com. In the fast-action game, fans play Chef Anthony as he scurries around to collect ingredients for the sauce and avoids sour notes sent to him by the evil Axeman. Perry recorded voices and music for the game. … Add Michael Anthony to the list of rockers who like it hot. The Van Halen bassist is preparing to bottle his own Mad Anthony’s Hot Sauce, which, according to a post on his Web site, will “make sweatin’ it out on the can the next morning part of your everyday ritual.” Now doesn’t that sound appetizing? …