For The Record: Quick News On Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Pharrell Williams, Xscape, Interpol, Rob Zombie & More

Ashlee Simpson buys a house, Nick Lachey gets a deal, Xscape plot their return.

Ashlee Simpson has bought her first home, in Studio City, California, which she's sharing with two of the girls who appeared as her friends in her video for "La La." "It's so much fun," she recently told MTV Europe. "We've been decorating it and everything, it's kinda got like a retro vibe. Hopefully when I'm home next month, I'll be able to do some work around the house. I am the messiest in the house, by far. My girlfriends are messy, too, but I win. I take the cake!" ...

Meanwhile, sister Jessica has autographed a sky-blue sweatshirt for an auction to benefit the Skin Cancer Foundation. The clothing, which can be seen at www.yogaforce.com, will be auctioned off in May, which is also Skin Cancer Awareness month, at www.auctiondrop.com. ... Jessica's husband, Nick Lachey, has signed to Jive Records, and will document the process of working with the label, recording songs and promoting the album on his upcoming still-untitled solo reality show, which is set to premiere on MTV in April. "Viewers will see a different side of me than in 'Newlyweds,' " he said in a statement, "and be able to understand exactly what goes into the making of an album. I look forward to sharing this experience with my fans." ...

Pharrell Williams and Reebok have decided to end their brief licensing relationship. Pharrell signed with Reebok in December 2003 to launch his Ice Cream footwear and Billionaire Boys Club clothing lines. As a result of the separation, Reebok will continue to sell Ice Cream sneakers through June 30. Pharrell sued Reebok International for more than $4 million last month, claiming the sportswear giant didn't produce clothing meeting BBC's standards and failed to distribute the clothing line to stores by an agreed-upon deadline. Pharrell will announce future plans for both lines shortly. ... It's been years since we've heard from Xscape, the quartet that Jermaine Dupri discovered and helped bring to platinum fame, but now they're in the studio working on a new album called Unchained for Warner Bros., minus member Kandi Burruss. Sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott have once again joined forces with Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, and they've added a new member, Keisha Miles. Besides their album, the ladies are also shopping a reality show called "Unchained," which would document their realignment. ...

Eddie Vedder, Rob Zombie, Vincent Gallo, Nicolas Cage, Rick Rubin and other celebs joined several hundred black-T-shirted fans to memorialize Johnny Ramone with a larger-than-life statue of the punk rock pioneer at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Friday (click to see exclusive photos from the event). Zombie took credit for the statue (which he designed), Vedder called Ramone a "father figure" and Gallo wondered why Ramone had so many good friends while being such a tough guy. ... After four years of declining global music sales due to, among other factors, the abundance of illegal file-sharing, online music stores may now have a hand in increasing sales in 2005. According to Reuters, the market expects to see a 1 percent increase in 2005 with the help of online music sales and music DVDs. That may seem like a minor increase, but it could return the industry's sales levels to $39 billion (from the $32.1 billion in 2004) over the next six years, a number not seen since before the advent of file-swapping services and inexpensive CD burners. ...

With keynote speaker Robert Plant already on board, the lineup for the annual South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas (March 16-20) is coming together. Among the hundreds of roots, rock, hip-hop, pop and dance acts on the bill are Elvis Costello, Bloc Party, Death From Above 1979, Ditty Bops, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, the Donnas, Doves, Fatboy Slim, the Futureheads, Hot Hot Heat, Billy Idol, the Kills, Aimee Mann, the Raveonettes, Sleater-Kinney and the Soundtrack of Our Lives. ... British indie-rockers the Futureheads are crossing the pond for a series of North American tour dates. Their trek kicks off on February 21 in Washington, D.C., and makes stops in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles before winding up in Dallas on March 19. ...

Interpol might earn the title of indie road warriors at this rate. Still supporting their sophomore album, Antics, the gloomy New York rockers are taking to the road yet again on a 16-date North American trek with Blonde Redhead. The tour commences February 7 in Cincinnati and ends February 28 in Philadelphia. ... After supporting Interpol on their fall tour, the Secret Machines are ready to hit the road on their own in support of their major-label debut, Now Here Is Nowhere. The Dallas trio's first full-blown North American tour will comprise 27 dates starting in Toronto on February 2 and then wrapping up a month later in New York on March 5. ...

Ted Nugent did his part to make sure one high school band could rock out for President Bush in his inaugural parade. The Motor City Madman played a benefit concert on Saturday at the Crawford High School gym in Texas' McLennan County, where he now lives, to help the school's band — the only Texas high school band invited to participate — raise enough money to travel to Washington, D.C., to perform in the parade. The show raised about $19,000, according to the town's newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald, which covered the cost of the trip and will allow the band to get new uniforms and a new sound system for its school gym. ... Afro'd prog-rockers the Mars Volta will release their second disc, Frances the Mute, on March 1. The follow-up to De-loused in the Comatorium will feature 77 minutes of music spanning across five songs, three of which will be broken up by movements and passages, much like an orchestral suite. The first single will be "The Window." ...

01.14.2005

Instead of "standing up," it looks like Ludacris may have to pay up. Judge Debra Freeman of the United States District Court Southern District of New York has scheduled a settlement conference for February 4 between Ludacris, producer Kanye West and aspiring rap group I.O.F. The New Jersey group filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit in April alleging that the two stole the hook for Ludacris' "Stand Up" from them. The group members say that they passed off four demo tapes to Cris and West on separate occasions, and that one of the records featured, "Straight Like That," was recorded in 2000 and has a chorus similar to that of "Stand Up." Ludacris' label, Def Jam, had no comment on the suit. ...

Medical records released Wednesday by a federal judge show that civil-rights icon Rosa Parks has suffered from progressive dementia since 2002. The records were requested by the Detroit Free Press, which quoted Rhea McCauley, Parks' niece and the family's spokesperson, saying, "I'm not a doctor, but I know, dementia or not, my Auntie would never, ever go to this length to hurt some young artists trying to make it in the world." A multibillion-dollar lawsuit was filed on Parks' behalf against several record and distribution companies alleging that the Outkast song "Rosa Parks" defamed her by using her name without permission. Outkast were dropped from the original 1999 suit, but lawyers filed a second suit in August, and several family members told the paper they don't think Parks would have approved had she understood the suit. ...

Gwen Stefani's spring line of L.A.M.B. fashions will include ruffle raincoats, art-deco-print cocktail dresses, nautical blouses, sailor pants, cashmere hoodies and twin-set cardigans, pleat-front trousers, and "Harlow" halter dresses, inspired by her "Aviator" role as Jean Harlow. Tanks, sweats and hoodies will include phrases like "Where did my lamb go?," "All over me" and "This love is serious." At the same time, Gwen's introducing a Japanese-inspired accessories line (thanks to her Harajuku Girls) called Harajuku Lovers, which will feature illustrations of the four members of her pint-sized posse, including a $250 decorated limited-edition digital camera she debuted at the Consumer Electronics Showcase earlier this month. "When I was going to make the record, I was thinking about the idea of putting out a regular merchandise line with the album," she said at the convention. "It seemed ridiculous. I was like, 'I can't just put a shirt out with my face on it.' You know what I mean? So I wanted to do an accessory line. And the idea of a camera that's actually very, very cute and very Japanese-inspired is what I wanted." She said she plans to release the camera — which has red hearts, Japanese characters and the words "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" on it — and other accessories in May, around the same time that she'll release her video for "Hollaback Girl." Gwen's also planning the next collection, which will introduce jewelry and shoes to the L.A.M.B. line for fall. ...

Nextel's Boost Mobile is now offering a special catalog of ringtones aimed at helping young people provide aid to tsunami victims. The catalog, which will be available for two months, will include selections from Destiny's Child, U2, R. Kelly and Christina Aguilera, among others. Approximately $1 per downloaded ringtone will support UNICEF's efforts to provide immediate relief to the estimated 1.5 million children affected by the disaster. ... The American Red Cross has unveiled its new National Celebrity Cabinet, a group of volunteers who, for one year, promote awareness of the Red Cross' services and activities across the country and encourage people to donate their time, blood and money. This year, 13 new members have been added, including Spike Lee, George Foreman, "Smallville" actress Kristin Kreuk, Julianne Moore and Patti LaBelle. ...

Blink-182's Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge have set a February 22 release date for the third installment of the Atticus Dragging the Lake compilation series. Blink, Taking Back Sunday, Death Cab for Cutie, MxPx, Rise Against and Piebald are among the artists featured on the 24-track LP. ... Scruffy Southern rockers Kings of Leon will release their second album, Aha Shake Heartbreak, on February 22. The follow-up to their 2003 debut, Youth & Young Manhood, the disc will feature 12 songs, including "King of the Rodeo," "Taper Jean Girl" and "Pistol of Fire." ...

Jimmy Griffin, guitarist for 1970s soft-rock band Bread, died on Tuesday of complications from cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 61. Griffin joined Bread in 1969, and, following the group's breakup in 1977, he recorded solo and with country groups Black Tie and the Remingtons. He also participated in Bread's 1997 reunion when the band embarked on a world tour. ... Celebrities including Shaggy, India.Arie, Danny Glover and Angelique Kidjo will head to Ethiopia in February to pay tribute to reggae legend Bob Marley, in celebration of what would have been his 60th birthday, according to Reuters. The monthlong celebration will include cultural events that will raise funds for charity, but, according to the managing director of the Bob Marley Foundation, will not include the reburial of Marley's remains. "No body is being exhumed," Desta Meghoo-Peddie told Reuters, refuting earlier reports that Marley's grave would be moved from Jamaica to Ethiopia. ...

Gavin DeGraw gets some action on this week's episode of "What I Like About You," when he gets to kiss the bride — and it turns into a make-out session. DeGraw plays himself, and as the musician hired to play the reception, he gives Val (played by Jennie Garth) a personal serenade — and a little extra. The episode airs Friday (January 14) at 8 p.m. ET on the WB. ... The New York-based Scratch DJ Academy is heading west. The school, which teaches aspiring DJs how to mix and blend, will open its second school on Saturday in Los Angeles. The new academy, based in L.A.'s Rehab Records, will feature such prominent L.A. DJs as Mr. Choc and Jurassic 5's Nu-Mark. ...