For The Record: Quick News On Britney Spears, Ashlee And Jessica Simpson, Ludacris, Biggie, Courtney Love & More

Britney Spears plans to post a letter to her fans on Friday, but you’ll have to pay to read it. She made the announcement in the British entertainment magazine Ok! and said that she would be setting the record straight on a number of items, such as whether or not she’s pregnant. She’s calling it “The Letter of Truth: I Hope You Can Handle It” and says that this “life-changing” letter took her a week to write. “I owe it to my fans, they need to read it,” she said. “It will explain any questions they have ever had, it will explain everything.” Accessing the letter will cost $24.98. …

Ashlee Simpson is getting more involved with Rock the Vote. Besides bowling at a Rock the Vote event at Lucky Strike Lanes in Los Angeles on Tuesday, she’s offering a chance to win a concert by her and Ryan Cabrera for students who log on to a participating radio station Web site and take part in an online presidential election poll. The winning student’s school will be treated to the “Rock, Vote & Win” concert during this school year. The deadline to register is Sunday. “It’s very, very important for teenagers to vote,” she said. “I think a lot of times, we don’t realize being 18, 19, that our votes really do count. They make a difference.” … Ashlee’s big sister, Jessica Simpson, has recorded a new duet with hubby Nick Lachey, “A Whole New World,” for the platinum-edition DVD of Disney’s “Aladdin,” out October 5. The original version of the song was recorded by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson in 1992. … Meanwhile, Jessica is introducing her new fragrance line, Taste, at Sephora in New York’s Rockefeller Center on Monday afternoon. Fans who buy any of her Dessert Beauty or Taste products will get them signed by the singer. …

The Notorious B.I.G. wrongful-death trial — in which his family is suing the LAPD, holding it accountable for his murder — was slated to start this Tuesday, but it’s been postponed. The trial will now commence in April, since a key witness was unavailable. Perry Sanders, the lawyer representing Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and others who filed the suit, said, “We are very disappointed but will be ready in April.” … Courtney Love got a breather in court on Thursday (September 30). Though her felony drug trial was slated to start in Beverly Hills, California, the singer was granted a continuance until November 3. She hasn’t been quite as lucky with California state tax officials, who are claiming she’s stiffed them on payments dating back to 2002, and have filed a lien against her with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office, seeking about $38,000. Love has previously been hit with two separate liens for nonpayment of monthly fees on her New York condo. Meanwhile, she’s added one more show to her brief California tour, October 30 at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. …

Ludacris, who’s featured on the new Electronic Arts video game “Def Jam Fight for NY,” is appearing at a four-day consumer electronics and digital technology show in New York in October. DigitalLife will be held October 14-17 at the Jacob Javits Center, and Luda, along with Shawnna, N.O.R.E., Cam’ron and Joe Budden, will be on hand to greet fans on October 16. Ludacris and Shawnna are also slated to perform. … Adam Duritz is defending himself against the flak he’s received from some fans about his collaborations with Mandy Moore for her upcoming record. The Counting Crows singer posted on his blog that it was premature for people to judge him — or her. “You haven’t heard it,” he wrote. “This is a girl who made a few records she had little to do with when she was a kid … the only record she made that she had any control over was the Coverage album and that’s actually pretty good. She’s growing up … she wants to write songs and really make some music she can believe in. But all of this is up in the air until she produces her next record. Then you can have an opinion. Until then, let me respectfully request that you shut your f—ing pie holes.” …

Like Britney, A.J. McLean has also suffered knee problems requiring surgery, but the Backstreet Boy is recuperating nicely, according to his mother. Denise McLean posted on her Web site that “although the damage to his knee was more extensive than the doctor had anticipated, all did go fine.” She’s also posted pictures of A.J. in a leg brace and wheelchair, and noted that he managed to make a benefit show at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida, for hurricane relief, even though he could only hobble to the beat. … Cash Money Records is getting into the pop-music game. The New Orleans-based imprint has launched Roun’Table Entertainment, a full-service record label that will focus on R&B and pop as well as hip-hop. The label has already signed 18-year-old singer KC. … In other Cash Money news, Mannie Fresh will make his solo debut with The Mind of Mannie Fresh on December 7. Also on the way is Baby‘s second solo set, Fast Money, due in February. …

The Digable Planets have reunited and are working on a new album. The hip-hop trio of Butterfly, Doodlebug and Ladybug first hit the music scene in 1993 with their debut single, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” from their Grammy Award-winning album Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). “It feels good to have the opportunity to come back and put the finishing touches on the legacy that we started,” Doodlebug said. “We could have been a footnote in hip-hop history, but now we have the opportunity to take it further.” The group also has plans for a reunion tour. No dates have been released for either the tour or the album. … Having recently wrapped a tour in support of their second album, Take Them On, On Your Own, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are not wasting any time and have begun working on their next album, though they’ve yet to secure a new label deal. …

A Los Angeles jury has refused to close the door on the Doors, despite drummer John Densmore‘s lawsuit to prevent the surviving members — keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger — from calling themselves the Doors of the 21st Century. That doesn’t mean that the name will stick: A judge will still have the final say on October 27. … “The Professor” has taught his last class. Having schooled generations of listeners on the finer points of classic rock, Scott Muni, a New York radio institution, died Wednesday. He was 74. …

09.29.2004

Jay-Z and Russell Simmons are joining forces to register voters in Ohio, where the deadline for registration (October 4) is rapidly approaching. Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) will team up with Jay-Z’s “Voice Your Choice” initiative to register voters outside concert venues in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland where Jay-Z and R. Kelly will perform this weekend on their Best of Both Worlds tour. … In an effort to increase youth voter turnout across the country, HSAN and America Coming Together (ACT) will collaborate on a monthlong, 10-state Hip-Hop Team Vote GOTV Tour beginning October 1 in Washington, D.C. Two buses packed with artists, DJs and activists will depart from D.C. and will travel for 33 days through 26 cities, with one bus heading to states in the Midwest and the other to the South, ending the trip in the swing state of Florida. …

Dave Matthews Band fans really know how to get involved. While on the road with the group this summer, the nonprofit civic group HeadCount.org registered more than 14,656 voters, setting a new record for a single concert tour. … Metallica taught Jane Pauley how to rock for her upcoming episode of “The Jane Pauley Show,” airing Thursday. After a discussion about the band’s experience with group therapy and the film documenting that therapy, “Some Kind of Monster,” guitarist Kirk Hammett demonstrated a few heavy-metal techniques for the host of the hour-long syndicated show, which she attempted to imitate while dressed in a leather jacket and a Metallica T-shirt. “This is the highlight of my career,” she told him. “You’re on my greatest-hits reel for eternity.” …

Beyoncé is headlining a charity gala for Carousel of Hope, along with Faith Hill and Josh Groban, with Jay Leno acting as master of ceremonies. The event will take place October 23 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, and will raise money for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver. … Kelly Clarkson, Angie Stone, Blondie, En Vogue, Shirley Manson of Garbage and Wilson Phillips are slated to perform for Lifetime Television’s annual breast-cancer awareness concert, “WomenRock!” Vivica A. Fox will host the event, which will air October 28 at 11 p.m. ET on Lifetime. …

Lou Reed, the Roots, Macy Gray, Stephan Jenkins and Camp Freddy will perform at the third annual Vanity Fair In Concert program, benefiting Step Up Women’s Network, an organization which raises money and awareness for women’s issues, including breast and ovarian cancers and domestic abuse. The concerts will take place on October 21 and 23 — the first at New York’s Irving Plaza featuring Reed, the Roots and Camp Freddy; and the second at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater with Gray, Jenkins and Camp Freddy. Actress Kyra Sedgwick will host the New York event, while Aisha Tyler will host the Los Angeles show. … Izora Rhodes Armstead, one half of the Weather Girls (who sang the 1983 hit “It’s Raining Men”), has died of heart failure. Armstead passed on September 16 at a hospital in San Leandro, California. She’s also known for her contributions to Sylvester‘s hit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” …

Lance Bass, having already visited students in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday as part of Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology week, is expanding his tour to visit public schools in and around Los Angeles for World Space Week next week. During Tuesday’s stop, Bass announced the winners of a robotics competition sponsored by Gear Up, a program that prepares low-income students for college. For World Space Week, the ‘NSYNC member has a competition named after him — “Lance’s Lab” challenges students to design a module for the International Space Station. “When I talk with kids about space, they really understand that their generation is the next wave of explorers, and that’s really exciting to them,” Bass said in a statement. “World Space Week gives us the opportunity to fuel that excitement even more and show them the tools — especially math and science — that will get them there, and bring the rest of the world with them.” Bass is slated to be inducted into the National Space Society’s Board of Governors next week. …

Talib Kweli celebrated the release of his new solo set, The Beautiful Struggle, Tuesday night with an album-release party at New York’s Eugene’s nightclub. The Brooklyn MC, who performed, even brought his mother, Dr. Brenda Greene, and godfather of hip-hop Kool Herc onstage with him for his hit single “Get By.” … Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus is putting the finishing touches on his third solo disc. Scheduled for spring 2005, the currently untitled album features the songs “Baby Come On” and “It Kills.” …

For metalheads who consider Dimebag Darrell a fashion plate, the former Pantera/ current Damageplan guitarist is launching a clothing line called Dimebag Hardware. … Now you have another reason to visit the Web site of former Quiet Riot frontman Kevin DuBrow — the singer has posted “Come and Gone,” a previously unreleased track of the late great metal guitarist Randy Rhoads playing with Quiet Riot. …

No Doubt‘s Adrian Young is following in his bandmate Gwen Stefani‘s footsteps and moonlighting as an actor. He has a small part in the upcoming Nick Cannon film “The Underclassman,” about a young detective who goes undercover at an elite private school. The film is due out early next year. … Photek and Jurassic 5‘s Cut Chemist have remixed “They,” the first single from Jem, who DJed and worked for dance labels before launching her singing career. Newcomers Kid Freeze and MDK & Ayesha have also done remixes, which will be released on Jem’s own CrazyWiseMusic imprint of ATO Records. … P.O.D. guitarist Jason Truby released a solo acoustic album, String Theory, on Tuesday, available exclusively through P.O.D.’s online store. Truby shows off his skills playing a plethora of different guitars, as well as the sitar, throughout the album. …