For The Record: Quick News On Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Jan Berry, Avril Lavigne, Darkness, White Stripes & More

It’s no April Fool’s Day joke — Michael Jackson is receiving a humanitarian award, despite the current child-molestation charges hanging over his head. The African Ambassadors’ Spouses Association, is honoring the embattled singer for his worldwide humanitarian efforts, as he’s reportedly given more than $50 million over the years to various charities, including some that feed the hungry in Africa. Jackson is expected to accept the award in person at the ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 1. …

In support of their debut album, Tough Luv, Roc-A-Fella’s Young Gunz will join the next leg of Kanye West‘s spring tour. Their run begins April 3 in San Francisco, goes down the West Coast and ends up in Detroit on April 16. The rest of the Kanye tour runs through the beginning of May. … Lance Bass may not be going to space anytime soon, but he’s going to drop from the sky — for a good cause. The ‘NSYNC singer is among the hundreds of people currently signed up for Operation Freefall, a national skydiving event created to raise awareness about sexual assault. The event, sponsored by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape), is scheduled to take place April 24 across 37 drop zones. More information is at Operationfreefall.com. …

Jan Berry, one half of ’60s surf rock duo Jan and Dean, died Friday in his home when he stopped breathing after suffering a seizure. He was 62. With Dean Torrence, the pair were pioneers of the West Coast genre, penning the hits “Deadman’s Curve,” “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” and “Surf City” with the Beach BoysBrian Wilson. A car accident in 1966 left Berry partially paralyzed with severe brain damage. … PJ Harvey‘s sixth album, Uh Huh Her, will be released in June. Tracks on the disc, the follow-up to 2000′s Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, include “The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth,” “Shame,” “The Pocket Knife,” “The Letter” and “Cat on the Wall.” …

The Suffolk Wildlife Park in England has named a baby giraffe after the Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins. Also, councilors in the band’s hometown of Lowestoft, Norfolk, have suggested that a road be named after the group. … Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam are the first crop of artists announced to honor the late country rocker Gram Parsons with a couple of concerts July 9 and 10. Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons will take place at the Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, California, and at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City. The bizarre circumstances surrounding Parsons’ death from a lethal alcohol and morphine combination in 1973 are chronicled in the upcoming film “Grand Theft Parsons,” starring Johnny Knoxville and Christina Applegate. …

The latest albums by the White Stripes, Kid Rock, Iggy Pop and Obie Trice, among others, will battle it out for Outstanding National Major Label Album at the annual Detroit Music Awards, taking place April 23 at the State Theatre. Rock’s “Picture” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” Eminem’s “Sing for the Moment” and “Superman,” the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” and Iggy’s collaboration with Sum 41, “Little Know It All,” are competing in the Outstanding National Single category. … New York radio station Z100 has just announced the initial lineup for its annual celebrity blowout Zootopia, taking place May 21 at Madison Square Garden. Scheduled to appear at the concert so far are Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, Black Eyed Peas, William Hung of “American Idol” and Liz Phair. The station says more acts will be added shortly. …

This year’s Reading and Leeds festivals will be headlined by the White Stripes, the Darkness and Green Day. The tandem events, which take place August 27 to 29 in Reading and West Yorkshire, England, will also feature 50 Cent, the Offspring, the Hives, the Streets, Franz Ferdinand, Lostprophets, Morrissey, Ash, the Libertines and others. … “Touch Me I’m Sick,” an exhibit of photos by grunge lensman Charles Peterson, will be on display from April 1 to May 1 at the Powerhouse Gallery in New York. The show, named after a Mudhoney song, features vibrant shots of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Tad, Pussy Galore, Laughing Hyenas and others. …

Truth Hurts is shooting the video for her new single, “Ready Now,” in Los Angeles on Tuesday with Fatima Robinson, who is coming off Black Eyed Peas‘ “Hey Mama.” The song is the title track on the singer’s new release for Raphael Saadiq‘s Pookie Entertainment label, due June 1. … A sinus infection has postponed the spring Siouxsie & the Banshees tour to the fall. Frontwoman Siouxsie Sioux came down with the illness after a recent sinus operation. The trek was supposed to begin May 19 in Seattle and hit 14 theaters. Although a new itinerary has yet to be announced, the tour is expected to commence in September. …

Cypress Hill have set an April 13 release date for “Still Smokin’ – The Ultimate Video Collection.” The double-disc DVD features live footage and videos for favorites like “How I Could Just Kill a Man” and “Insane in the Brain.” … Prince‘s very own digital music store is open for business. The Musicology Download Store launched Monday and offers most tracks for 99 cents, or 77 cents for members of the NPG Music Club after a lifetime membership fee of $25. The downside to the purple one’s latest project is that it only sells the music that Prince owns, meaning there’s no Purple Rain, 1999 or Sign O’ the Times.

Dez Fafara‘s post-Coal Chamber project, Devildriver, has been added to Ozzfest’s second stage for selected dates. Featuring Ozzy, Judas Priest, Slayer and Slipknot, Ozzfest is set to kick off July 10. … The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network registered 30,000 new young voters in the Chicago area leading up to its summit on Saturday. The summit featured a panel with Kanye West, Ludacris, Twista, Common. …

03.26.2004

Britney Spears yelped in pain when she injured her knee at her Onyx Hotel Tour stop in Moline, Illinois, last week, and now MP3s of her cries are floating around on various fan sites, including EverythingBritney.net and WorldofBritney.com. Snippets of the minute-length audio clip include the singer saying, “I just went down … Oh my god … it hurts! You don’t even …”

Brandy‘s as-yet-untitled fourth album is slated for a June 22 release. The album’s first single, “Talk About Our Love,” co-written and produced by Kanye West, who is also featured on the track, is expected to surface at radio next week. … The day after being released from a Massachusetts jail, Bobby Brown stood before a family court judge once again on Friday to answer her questions on how he plans to make future child-support payments to the woman whose complaint to the court put him in jail for a day on Wednesday. Brown had paid the $63,500 he owed in order to get out of jail, but April’s payment is due on Thursday. If he misses that one, ex-girlfriend Kim Ward can file another contempt-of-court complaint and the process may start all over again. …

Former Poison frontman Bret Michaels is going country. Michaels is reportedly close to signing a deal with a Nashville indie label and intends to record a countrified version of the hair-metal band’s 1988 power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” … Now that “Jersey Girl” has hit theaters, Jennifer Lopez has plans to return to the small screen, this time to liven up “Will & Grace.” She’s shooting her guest part next week for the NBC sitcom’s one-hour season finale, which will air April 29. …

Outkast‘s Big Boi, Ween, J-Kwon, Jason Mraz and Me’Shell Ndegeocello have been added to Atlanta’s Music Midtown 2004 lineup. The music festival takes place April 30 to May 2. … A Mosrite Gospel Mark IV guitar that belonged to Kurt Cobain is being auctioned off April 17 at the 27th Annual Dallas Guitar Show and Music Fest. The solid-bodied axe comes in its original case, which has been whitewashed, though the words “Nirvana” and “F— Elvis” are still visible. …

Following the lead of the Ramones and Aerosmith, the Distillers have recorded a version of the “Spider-Man” theme for the “Spider-Man 2″ video game, expected to hit stores in late June. … New Era has launched a line of limited edition “59Fifty” baseball hats custom designed by a range of celebrities. Director Spike Lee and hip-hop personality Bobbito launched their hats in recent weeks. Coming soon are customized lids from Cam’ron, Fabolous, Fred Durst, Dizzee Rascal, Danny Masterson and others. Each issue is limited to 288 hats; they’re available in boutiques in New York and Los Angeles and also online (www.59fiftyat50.com). …

The next single from “salt shakers” the Ying Yang Twins is the crunk jam “What’s Happnin!,” featuring Trick Daddy. The video for the song was filmed over the weekend in Atlanta. … Rob Zombie, Fat Joe, Cypress Hill, Ghostface Killah and Dead Prez guest star on Revolutions, the X-ecutioners‘ follow-up to Built From Scratch, due in May. The turntablist ensemble will hit the road in June, with dates to be announced soon. …

“So Stupid,” a bootleg song which samples a Kylie Minogue radio interview, was yanked from an unofficial Kylie Web site after the radio station threatened legal action. In the interview, the Aussie chanteuse snapped at a batch of stupid questions, including one about whether or not she’s ever had plastic surgery. … Scream-o quartet From Autumn to Ashes have parted ways with guitarist Scott Gross. This Day Forward‘s Vadim Taver is filling in until the band finds a permanent replacement. …

Hair-metal supergroup Brides of Destruction, featuring Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx and L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns, will embark on the month-long Honeymoon From Hell Tour, beginning April 30 in Clifton Park, New York. The trek supports the band’s debut, Here Come the Brides, which dropped March 9. … Between 1989 and 1992, the pioneering British metal band Venom existed with only two original members, guitarist Mantas and drummer Abaddon. For Venom’s upcoming, yet-untitled disc, founding bassist/vocalist Cronos has returned, but the other two dudes have bailed. The band’s new guitarist is a guy named Mykus, and Antton, who joined in 2000, will play drums. …

Seal will launch a three-week tour on April 16 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada; dates run through May 7 in Gulfport, Mississippi. The outing will correspond with the expanded reissue of Seal’s IV album as a DVD-A with surround-sound mixes of the songs, plus three music videos. … Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago will release Smitten, the second album by his side project the Martinis, on June 8. The band also features singer Linda Mallari, bassist Paul Delisle and drummer Josh Freese. Tracks include, “Flyer,” “You Are the One” and “People of the World.” … Southern California metalcore band Atreyu will release their second full-length album, The Curse, on June 29. Atreyu will perform on the second stage of this year’s Ozzfest, and will be playing with new bassist Marc McKnight, who replaced Chris Thomson in early March. …