For The Record: Quick News On Ashlee Simpson, Nelly, Whitney Houston, Jamie Foxx, Slipknot, Backstreet Boys & More

Ashlee picks her covers, Nelly rocks the rodeo, Whitney gets the tell-all treatment.

While in rehearsals for her upcoming tour, launching later this month, Ashlee Simpson has been working on adding a few cover songs to her set. Fans can expect to hear her renditions of Madonna's "Burning Up," Blondie's "Call Me" and the Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket" at the shows, the singer/actress announced on "TRL" on Monday (February 7). ...

Nelly will headline the music festivities at the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo in Austin on March 23. It's the first time a hip-hop artist will perform at the rodeo in its 68-year history. Maroon 5 will join the St. Louis rapper on the bill. ...

When we last left the U2 Internet presale debacle, drummer Larry Mullen had single-handedly pledged to rectify the situation for U2.com subscribers who lost out on tickets to the band's tour because scalpers had leapfrogged them in line. While Mullen sorts out the situation, he is now offering subscribers a full refund of their $40 membership fee. More patient members are encouraged to wait for the second leg of the band's tour, when they will be given priority for tickets. ... A jubilant Jamie Foxx was named Best Actor for his portrayal of Ray Charles in "Ray," and Hilary Swank walked away with the Best Actress award for "Million Dollar Baby" at the 11th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, held on Saturday at the Shrine Expo Center in Los Angeles. Other winners include Morgan Freeman, who nabbed Best Supporting Actor for his turn in "Million Dollar Baby," Cate Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress in "The Aviator," and "Sideways," which took home the evening's top award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. ...

More dates and opening acts have been announced for the Subliminal Verses Tour, headlined by Slipknot and featuring Lamb of God and Shadows Fall. The Bled will take on support duties from March 20 in Pensacola, Florida, through March 26 in Houston; Devildriver will pick up the slack on March 28 in Oklahoma City, touring through April 2 in Grand Prairie, Texas; Trivium will rock audiences from April 4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, through April 8 in San Diego; From Autumn to Ashes will join the caravan from April 9 in Los Angeles through April 17 in Spokane, Washington; Dillinger Escape Plan will play from April 19 in Salt Lake City through April 24 in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Otep will close out the tour from April 26 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, through April 30 in Madison, Wisconsin. ...

Beck played his third in a string of "secret" shows in the L.A. area Saturday night at Hollywood club 1650. Har Mar Superstar opened before Beck came out backed by five other musicians, assaulting the audience with "E-Pro," the leadoff track from his upcoming Guero. Sticking mostly to new material while at the same time returning to his old-school sound, Beck added record scratches between guitar riffs and was joined by a lasciviously dancing Har Mar during an extended jam that followed the new track "Rental Car." Guero is due March 29. ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michelle Branch, the Backstreet Boys and ?uestlove from the Roots are among the artists scheduled to honor Brian Wilson at the MusiCares dinner and concert Friday at the Palladium in Hollywood. Jon Lovitz is hosting the event, which will also feature Barenaked Ladies, Jamie Cullum, Jeff Beck, India.Arie, Darlene Love, Shelby Lynne, Michael McDonald, Richie Sambora, Neil Young and Earth, Wind & Fire. ... Take Two Interactive, the producer of the wildly popular/socially reprehensible "Grand Theft Auto" series of video games, has acquired the rights to publish video games based on FOX's canceled/un-canceled cult cartoon "Family Guy." It's unclear on which platforms the game will be available, though it's tentatively scheduled to hit stores in 2006. ...

Country music stalwart Merle Kilgore, who managed Hank Williams Jr. and co-wrote the classic "Ring of Fire" with June Carter Cash, died Sunday in Mexico of congestive heart failure related to his treatment for cancer, according to Reuters. He was 70 years old. He is survived by his wife, Judy, and five children. ... The lineup for the 2005 edition of the Bonnaroo festival just got a little larger. The Black Crowes and Jurassic 5 have been added to the bill. Bonnaroo takes place June 10-12 in Manchester, Tennessee. ...

Sleater-Kinney have wrapped up recording on their seventh record. Due May 24, The Woods, produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips), will be the trio's first album for Sup Pop Records (early home to Nirvana, Soundgarden). The group will play several dates in March, including a show at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on the 16th. A full tour schedule is expected in June. ... Bob Dylan has announced the first set of dates for his upcoming tour, called the Bob Dylan Show. Joining Dylan on the tour — which kicks off March 7 in Seattle — is country hell-raiser Merle Haggard and his band the Strangers. So far, the trek runs until April 9 in Milwaukee, but more dates are expected to be announced shortly. ... Danzig is heading out on the road, kicking off a 19-date tour on February 18 in St. Louis and wrapping up on March 15 in Anaheim, California. The trek will feature Type O Negative's Johnny Kelly on drums. ...

02.04.2005

Lindsay Lohan is unhappy about all the press coverage her parents' divorce is getting, so her attorney has sent a seven-page cease-and-desist letter to some celebrity news outlets. The letter, obtained by the Smoking Gun Web site, threatens legal action against any publication that reports on the "false and damaging statements" made by Lindsay's father, Michael Lohan. Lindsay's lawyer further states in the letter, which also makes reference to Michael's "psychological problems," that any person or media outlet that prints Michael's statements will be liable for any damages suffered by Lindsay and her mother, Dina Lohan. ...

Problems with U2's Internet presale of tickets for their upcoming world tour has left fans upset and put drummer Larry Mullen on the warpath. The trouble started early last month, when scalpers infiltrated the presale by posing as U2.com paid subscribers and leapfrogged honest-to-goodness U2 fans hoping to get tickets. When fans alerted the band, Mullen posted an open letter on U2.com, pledging to figure out "a way of distributing the tickets for our intended return to North America in the fall," to hunt down scalpers and give priority to U2.com members for new tickets. ... Even the toughest of pop-punkers is no match for a throat infection. Sum 41's Deryck Whibley was struck down with just such an ailment, causing his band to cancel four Canadian tour dates. One of the scrapped shows, in Barrie, Ontario, has already been rescheduled for Valentine's Day, while three other shows — two in Toronto, one in London, Ontario — will be made up next month. ...

P. Diddy's such a trendsetter, he says, he can get everyone to copy his ride — even if it's a Diet Pepsi truck. The rap mogul stars in a spot for the soda scheduled to air during the Super Bowl, spoofing a previous appearance at MTV's Video Music Awards when he arrived on a flatbed truck. In the Pepsi ad, he shows up in the Pepsi truck after his own car breaks down and he's forced to hitch a ride. Carson Daly, who also appears in the commercial, remarks upon Diddy's amazing entrance, and the next thing you know, everyone from Eva Longoria to Wilmer Valderrama to Xzibit are driving Pepsi trucks, though some more successfully than others. ... Appearing in a separate Super Bowl commercial for Pepsi are Gwen Stefani and Eve, who make a cameo in a spot illustrating how fans can win free songs via iTunes. The pair turn up in an elevator as a fan is listening to their song, "Rich Girl." ...

Clay Aiken appears in a promotional video for his North Carolina hometown. Titled "Downtown Raleigh Open for Business," the video was sent to more than 200 real-estate brokers in an attempt to reinvigorate the area. ... The Click Five, a power-pop band that formed at Boston's Berklee College of Music, have been tapped to open for Ashlee Simpson on her North American tour, which kicks off February 16 in Anaheim, California. The Click Five formed just over a year ago and have since opened for Alanis Morissette and the Barenaked Ladies. ...

Pete Doherty, ex-Libertines vocalist and leader of the band Babyshambles, will spend the weekend in jail on charges of robbery and blackmail, according to Reuters. Doherty was granted bail in a London court on Friday but was unable to raise the 150,000 pounds ($282,400) in time. The singer was arrested Wednesday after police were called to a London hotel to investigate reports of a man being assaulted. ... Ray Charles Robinson, the son of late soul legend Ray Charles, was arrested at the Dunes Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday for alleged felony drug possession, according to an LAPD spokesperson. The 45-year-old, who is also known as Ray Charles Jr., was released on $10,000 bail. ...

Actor John Vernon, best known for his role as Dean Wormer in the classic frat flick "Animal House" (1978), died on Tuesday at his home in California's San Fernando Valley, having recently suffered a heart attack, according to The Associated Press. He was 72. The Canadian-born actor, whose first movie role was the voice of Big Brother in "1984" (1956), appeared in such films as "Dirty Harry" (1971) and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988). ... Taryn Manning, who stars in the Sundance Film Festival hit "Hustle & Flow," is hard at work on the second Boomkat album. "The new record is a little bit more mature," she said. "I've been through hell and back. I've been dropped from my label." One of Boomkat's new tracks will appear in the upcoming Ashton Kutcher comedy "A Lot Like Love," in which Manning co-stars. ...

The Donnas have announced that they will play several headlining shows in April, following their gig opening for Maroon 5 on part of the Honda Civic Tour. The headlining tour will start on April 15 in Grand Rapids, Michigan; dates have been announced through April 26 in San Francisco. ... Incubus have announced plans to reissue last year's A Crow Left of the Murder in a deluxe "DualDisc" edition. One side of the disc will feature the regular version of Crow, while the flipside features a stereo mix of the album, plus live footage of the band playing Lollapalooza and the Bridge School Benefit, along with "making the album" studio footage. The DualDisc version of Crow hits stores on Tuesday. ...