For The Record: Quick News On Usher, Michael Jackson, Chingy, Rodney King, Morrissey, Bon Jovi & More

Hip-hop producer Just Blaze will serve as a special guest DJ for the Saturday stop of Usher‘s Truth Tour at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He will spin before the show and after opening act Kanye West‘s set. Just Blaze has also served as Jay-Z‘s touring DJ. …

As a preliminary hearing for the Michael Jackson case took center stage in Santa Maria, California, the pop star seemed to be more concerned about his representation not in court, but in VH1′s movie “Man in the Mirror.” Jackson released a statement Thursday saying that he was tired of being “vilified” and “humiliated” by the “many hurtful lies and references to me as ‘Wacko Jacko’ as well as the latest untruth about me fathering quadruplets.” He asked for the “same kindness and respect” that he had shown others to be shown to him. In court, meanwhile, the stepfather of the singer’s accuser testified that Jackson’s associates had offered the family a house and college funds to make a videotape that would portray the singer in a more positive light. He testified that he asked for more than was offered. On Thursday, defense attorneys also played for the court a videotape of the Neverland raid, to demonstrate their claim that the search went outside the scope of the warrant. On Friday, the Neverland property manager testified that some areas searched were not specified in the warrant, but that he had initially cooperated when authorities said they were only searching areas to establish that the locations were secure and that no one was there. He said that he later objected, and was told the search warrant would be amended. …

The release date for Chingy‘s Powerballin’ has been pushed back from October to November 16. The first single, “Balla Baby,” is due on the airwaves in early September, and the St. Louis rapper is shooting the video in Los Angeles next week with Jeremy Rall, the director behind Ludacris‘ “Roll Out.” … Rodney King told the show “Celebrity Justice” that he’s got a hip-hop CD in the works, and hopes to collaborate with such stars as Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige. King — who became famous when his beating at the hands of the LAPD was caught on videotape, an act that led to the 1992 L.A. riots — now says his court-ordered drug-rehab counselor convinced him to pursue rap, and said that he has nothing but support from the police now. “I had one cop tell me, ‘Hey, man, don’t worry ’bout nothin’. I got your back, Rod, I got your back. No matter what,’ ” King said. …

Former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri seems to be fully recovered after having surgery to repair a hernia. After being released from a hospital on August 13, Oliveri wasn’t laid up for long, resuming a European tour with his band Mondo Generator on Monday. … Not one to wallow in disappointment in the wake of Lollapalooza’s cancellation (which he was scheduled to headline), Morrissey has announced a solo North American tour. The trek begins September 29 in Washington, D.C.; dates have been announced through November 1 in El Paso, Texas. …

Mudvayne have finished their new album, which took them seven months to write. The band’s third studio album, which is still untitled and has no release date yet, was produced by Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Superjoint Ritual). “We’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some amazing producers,” lead singer Chad Gray said in a statement. “Garth Richardson captured the band’s raw energy on the first record, and David Bottrill gave our music a three-dimensional quality on the second record. For this record, we asked Dave Fortman to produce because we wanted someone who can bring both of these elements together into a sound that’s brutal and beautiful.” …

To prove that 100 Million Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong, the boys from Jersey are releasing a five-disc box set called exactly that on November 16. Few details have been released, but fans can start getting psyched about three discs of previously unreleased songs, one disc of rarities and a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage. Fans can make their mark on this retrospective by e-mailing tellus@bonjovi.com with anecdotes and personal essays for a chance to have their words included in the set’s booklet. … The Grateful Dead are putting out a box set, featuring music spanning from 1973 to 1989. The 12-disc set, Beyond Description, will feature remastered and repackaged studio albums for Grateful Dead Records and Arista, dozens of previously unreleased outtakes, live tracks and alternate versions, giving fans a total of 15 hours of music and 161 songs. The set is due in stores October 26. …

Canadian rock icons the Tragically Hip are making their way down from the Great White North to grace the stage at a venue near you. The band has announced 23 tour dates in support of its most recent release, In Between Evolution, beginning September 18 in Detroit and ending October 19 in Rochester, New York. … Stingy fans of gravelly voiced singer Macy Gray who have held off purchasing her major-label releases can now rejoice. Three albums’ worth of Gray’s hits are compiled on The Very Best of Macy Gray, due September 7. Along with familiar favorites like her 1999 breakthrough single, “I Try,” and her collaboration with Erykah Badu, “Sweet Baby,” the LP features the new single “Love Is Gonna Get Ya” and several remixes. Gray returns to the U.S. tour circuit September 2 in San Diego. …

8.19.2004

Jennifer Lopez made a cancer-stricken 5-year-old’s dream come true recently, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Serena Castanon of Oxnard, California, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and during her extended hospital stays, she’s been watching Lopez’s movies on a laptop from her hospital bed. So Make-A-Wish helped Serena meet her idol earlier this summer, and also treated her to a beauty makeover. …

Snoop Dogg is giving one back to the kids with the upcoming Snooper Bowl, a charity football event that will pit the rapper’s all-star youth football team from California against a Jacksonville, Florida, team on February 5, 2005, the day before Super Bowl XXXIX. There will be halftime and post-game concerts featuring performers from Snoop’s label. The game will raise money for Snoop’s Save a Life Foundation, which works with inner-city youth and children’s hospitals. … Vanessa Carlton is heading up an event promoting the power and influence of women voters called “Vaginas Vote, Chicks Rock.” Also appearing at the event, taking place September 13 at New York’s Apollo Theater, will be Rosario Dawson, Julia Stiles, “The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler, Susan Sarandon and Gloria Steinem, among others. …

First ‘NSYNC, then the Spice Girls, and now 98 Degrees can count a member in the Broadway cast of “Rent.” Drew Lachey will fill Joey Fatone‘s shoes when he steps in to star as Mark in the production, starting September 10 and running through March 11. … Cure frontman Robert Smith headed home to London for “personal reasons” after his performance Wednesday at the Salt Lake City stop on the Curiosa Festival tour. According to the band’s Web site, the August 21 Seattle show at the Gorge will be rescheduled as a special show called “An Evening With the Cure,” to take place in Everett, Washington, on August 31 at the Everett Event Center. All tickets for the August 21 date will be honored at the show on August 31, and additional tickets can be purchased at the venue’s box office. …

Michael Moore has signed a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster to publish a book of letters sent to him by U.S. troops stationed in Iraq called “Will They Ever Trust Us Again,” as well as a companion reader to the highly successful documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11,” titled “The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader.” According to Reuters, the former, set to hit stores in November, features letters received by Moore in the past year, while the latter, with a release date slated to coincide with the documentary’s DVD/home video release in October, includes a full transcript of the film. … Dave Navarro went into the studio Wednesday night with ex-Deep Purple/ Black Sabbath singer Glenn Hughes and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. “It should be a blast,” Navarro wrote on his Web site before heading in to record with former bandmate Smith. “I haven’t recorded with Chad in years. … The track is like a ’70s-rock-meets-Rage-Against-the-Machine vibe.” No word yet on where the song will appear. …

Motörhead are launching a tour to support their new album, Inferno. The 15-date trek kicks off September 10 in Hollywood and lasts through October 9 in Hartford, Connecticut. … Originally released on video in 1986, Van Halen‘s “Live Without a Net” is coming out on DVD for the first time. Shot during the band’s 5150 tour, the 90-minute DVD, out September 14, features performances of “Why Can’t This Be Love?” “Best of Both Worlds” and the Sammy Hagar solo cut “I Can’t Drive 55.” … Depeche Mode will release their performance film “Devotional” as a DVD this fall. Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film was recorded during the band’s 1993 world tour and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Long-Form Music Video. It’ll be in stores September 20 as a two-disc DVD set, with extras such as six remastered promo videos, including “Walking in My Shoes,” and a series of back projections that were used on the second half of the tour. …

Omaha, Nebraska, synth rockers the Faint are set to release their fourth disc, Wet From Birth, on September 14. Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes produced the album, written and recorded in a rented warehouse stockpiled with broken washers and dryers. … Alt-country chanteuse Neko Case will release a live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, November 9. The versatile singer, who often lends her voice to the New Pornographers, is also working on a studio album, due next spring. …