For The Record: Quick News On Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson, Paris, Da Brat, Ciara, Gang Of Four & More

J. Lo, Gwen on for Wango Tango, Jackson trial takes a turn, Paris makes plush Tinkerbell.

Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith are among the acts slated for Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM’s annual Wango Tango festival. Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris, Ciara, Backstreet Boys, Simple Plan, Frankie J, Ryan Cabrera, Natalie and the Pussycat Dolls will also perform at the Ryan Seacrest-hosted concert, scheduled for May 14 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. …

After weeks of graphic testimony centering around molestation allegations, the Michael Jackson trial turned on Tuesday (April 12) to other crimes the singer is charged with — conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. On day 30 of the trial, the stepfather of the current accuser took the stand and told the court that Jackson associate Frank Tyson pressured the family to participate in a rebuttal video to Martin Bashir’s documentary “Living With Michael Jackson.” When he asked for a contract, Tyson offered “protection” instead but wouldn’t say from what or whom. Tyson also offered the children a college education and a home, said the stepfather, who also described distressed calls he got from the accuser’s mother when she was at Neverland, in which she said she wasn’t able to see her children there and was always chaperoned. Though the defense has suggested the family is just after money, the stepfather said he never accepted money for the rebuttal video or for interview offers from British tabloids and had no intention of accepting money in the future, either. …

Paris Hilton is never without a moneymaking scheme, and her latest involves her lapdog, Tinkerbell. The heiress has just signed a deal with Gund to license plush-toy designs, including one of her pup. She’s also signed a deal to develop and market Paris Hilton watches, which will encompass both high-end Swiss watches and moderately priced fashion watches. … 3 Doors Down, Staind and Breaking Benjamin are teaming up for a summer tour scheduled to begin July 1. Details have yet to be announced, but the trek will hit about 40 cities before wrapping up in September. …

In a scene straight out of “The Surreal Life,” Da Brat‘s 31st birthday party in Chicago turned into a melee when two uninvited men bum-rushed the door. According to the Chicago Tribune, at around 1:30 Monday morning two men pushed passed security guards at the Harold Washington Cultural Center and got into a fistfight with security. Other partygoers joined in and one person allegedly hit a guard in the head with a gun. Four men were arrested. Among the 100 attendees at the party were Twista and actress Lisa Raye. … The Gap Band‘s Charlie Wilson — currently featured in Snoop‘s “Signs” video — is putting out an album of his own. Wilson’s debut, Charlie, Last Name Wilson, is executive produced by R. Kelly and is written and produced by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, Dr. Dre and Scott Storch. Wilson is now in the studio finishing the album, which will hit stores July 12. …

Want to hear a sample of Coldplay‘s new single? A 30-second snippet of the “Speed of Sound,” off the group’s upcoming X&Y, is going to debut as a Cingular ring tone. To order it, go to www.cingular.com/mediamall. … The Pixies, Futureheads, Spoon, Stephen Malkmus and the Misfits have been added to the lineup of the inaugural CMJ/ Rock Hall Music Fest. The three-day event (June 9-11) in Cleveland will also feature the Art of Modern Rock Poster show, a discussion with Grandmaster Flash, a guitar competition judged by Joe Satriani and additional gigs by the Digable Planets, Powerman 5000, Keoki, Mushroomhead, From First to Last and Nashville Pussy. …

Anthony Kiedis will be part of an environmental-activist panel with Daryl Hannah for Forces of Nature, which will address sustainability — buying products made with the fewest resources and utilizing earth-friendly materials that replenish themselves easily. Kiedis signed up for April 27′s “The Future of Sustainability” panel at the LOHAS 9 Forum in Marina del Rey, California, since he was instrumental in getting his record label to use paper made of hemp, flax and post-consumer waste. Other panelists include Amy Smart, Mariel Hemingway, Raquel Welch and Ed Begley Jr. To attend the forum, visit lohas.com or inspirationfilmfestival.com. … In an apparent homage to last summer’s aborted Lollapalooza tour, the Flaming Lips and the String Cheese Incident have been tapped to headline the ninth annual All Good Music Festival, to be held July 15-17 at Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia. Both the Lips and the Incident were scheduled to be a part of the last incarnation of Lolla, but slow ticket sales forced promoters to pull the plug before a single show was played. In the meantime, both bands have apparently been sharpening up their hacky-sack skills to take part in the All Good Music Fest, which also features jam bands like Umphrey’s McGee, Particle and Les Claypool. Tickets are $92 and go on sale Tuesday (April 12) at AllGood.MusicToday.com. …

Russell Simmons wants you to pay your taxes. The hip-hop-CEO-turned-political-activist has joined forces with TurboTax to create Rock Your Refund, a Web site that helps young Americans understand and file their state and federal taxes — and aims to get them the biggest refund possible. Visitors to RockYourRefund.com are given tax tips, and filing your income tax forms there costs just $5.95. Simmons told MTVNews he got involved with Rock Your Refund because “the last leg of the civil-rights movement is economic empowerment … not just for African-Americans, but for all young Americans.”… Marxist post-punkers Gang of Four will re-release their seminal 1979 debut album, Entertainment!, via Rhino Records on May 17. In addition to the 12-track original disc, the reissue will contain the long-out-of-print Yellow EP and four other previously unreleased cuts. The group’s widespread influence has scored it a headlining spot on the upcoming Coachella festival on May 1 in Indio, California. The next day the group begins a 14-date North American tour that will wrap May 21 in Philadelphia. …

Cypress Hill and the Kottonmouth Kings, the self-described “two biggest pro-marijuana bands on the planet,” have collaborated on a track called “Put the Pipe Down” for the latter’s upcoming seventh album. The groups plan to service the track to radio stations on April 20, the weed-smokers holiday established from the police code for marijuana-smoking-in-progress, 4:20. … On Monday night, rapper/ Cash Money boss Baby threw a bash at the posh New York club B.E.D. to celebrate the release of his upcoming album, Fast Money, and Rockstar video game “Midnight Club 3,” which he narrates. The Birdman was also promoting his newest LUGZ shoe collection, #1 Stunna. Denzel Washington, Anthony Mackie, Bobby Valentino and Chaka Zulu of Disturbing Tha Peace Records were in attendance. Fast Money drops June 21. …

Video directors Chris Mills (Modest Mouse) and Chris Grismer (the Arcade Fire) are teaming up to helm the clip for the new single from the Motion City Soundtrack, “Everything Is Alright.” The band’s new album, Commit This to Memory, due June 7, was produced by Mark Hoppus. The Motion City Soundtrack are touring through April before heading out on the Warped Tour this summer. … Experimental laptop artists the Books are teaming up with hip-hop producer Prefuse 73 for the split EP Prefuse 73 Reads the Books, which will surface on Warp Records later this year. Meanwhile, the cut-and-paste Michigan bookworms will embark on their first North American tour in support of their recently released third album, Lost and Safe. The 13-date trek starts off April 20 in Hudson, New York, and ends May 20 in Hollywood. …

04.11.2005

It’s true — there is such thing as a “first iPod.” On Monday (April 11), President Bush‘s iPod playlist surfaced in The New York Times, and it turns out W. is a fan of the likes of Van Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Fogerty. The president received the gadget as a gift from his twin daughters and uses his tunes to help him power through his 18-mile Texas bike trail. …

The Grey Album mastermind and Gorillaz member Danger Mouse and former Goodie Mob crooner Cee-Lo announced on Friday that they are putting the finishing touches on their collaborative effort, The Gnarls Barkley. The pair began work on the album last year. … Death Cab for Cutie are working at a fervent pace. The “ultimate Bait shop band” (so says “The O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz) has nearly finished Plans, the follow-up to 2003′s breakthrough disc Transatlanticism, according to a rep for the group. Recorded in rural Massachusetts and due in September, Plans will be Death Cab’s fifth LP. Guitarist Chris Walla will again assume production duties. Possible tracks for inclusion on the record include “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” “Brothers on a Hotel Bed,” “Someday You Will Be Loved,” “Your Heart Is an Empty Room,” “Marching Bands of Manhattan” and potential single “Soul Meets Body.” …

The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Weezer are both tried-and-true L.A. bands, but they’re going to party Las Vegas-style for Sin City’s 100th anniversary. On July 2, the rock groups are headlining Vegas’ centennial concert, to be held outdoors for free. “We can’t wait to get there, feel the energy of the crowd and rock the house,” RHCP bassist Flea said in a statement. Fifty thousand tickets will be available at www.vegasrocks100.com/ beginning April 18. … Currently screening on TheTransplants.com: a preview of the band’s upcoming album. In the promotional spot, we see frontman Rob Aston smoking, Travis Barker walking around shirtless and guitarist Tim Armstrong striking many punk poses. The trio also eat lunch at a diner. At the end of the spot, we are told that the new Transplants album will hit stores May 15 via LaSalle Records. …

Mötley Crüe had a little trouble at the Canadian border when Mighty Mike, the band’s resident “little person,” MC and fire-breather, was detained by authorities, since he lacked a green card. The Crüe were trying to cross the border for Friday’s show in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and were forced to enter the U.S. without Mike, who was transferred to Edmonton. He’s expected to remain there for seven days before being allowed to return to the tour. “This could set U.S.-Canadian relations back a couple of weeks,” singer Vince Neil said in a statement. “It’s no ‘big’ deal,” said drummer Tommy Lee. “Hopefully Mighty Mike will grow from this experience.” … The members of Alter Bridge inadvertently got mixed up in a high-speed police chase on Friday during a Kansas City, Missouri, tour stop, according to a band spokesperson. The band’s crew was unloading equipment from Alter Bridge’s tour bus when a man on the run from police pulled up and was blocked from passing. The driver veered into a nearby parking lot, hit a van, and dragged an officer across the street before finally crashing into the group’s bus. Several of the crew members aided in the arrest of the driver, who is now awaiting charges. …

Lil Jon wants to crunk up your cell phone — he’s just signed a deal with BlingTones to create exclusive music and shouts for ring tones, voice-ringers and ringbacks. Starting in June, fans can download his master tones and ring tones by visiting BlingTones on their carriers’ download page or at www.theblingtones.com. … Performing for the first time in the U.S. in 10 years, Digable Planets hit the stage at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre with the classic “It’s Good to Be Here” at the stroke of midnight Sunday night. Ladybug, Butterfly and Doodlebug then ran through their two albums and promised new Digable Planets material in the future. Ladybug also debuted a couple of tracks from her upcoming solo album, Trip the Light Fantastic, due out June 12. The trio are planning to hit the road this summer with a 25-city U.S. tour, set to begin in June. …

So P. Diddy is a baller for real now. At least he will be on Monday night, when he’ll display his prowess on the court at BasketBall City at Pier 63 in New York. An honoree at the eighth annual Net Gain tournament, the hip-hop mogul will receive the 2005 H.O.O.P.S. (Helping Out Our Public Schools) Award. Run by Youth I.N.C., the Net Gain tournament gets NBA players, kids and corporate sponsors together to raise money to fund court time for 32 New York City high school teams. … Alchemist and Mobb Deep‘s Prodigy performed for New York University students at the school’s Music for Tomorrow fundraiser on Friday at Big Apple club Avalon. The student-run organization is looking to raise $10,000 to “adopt” a Lower East Side New York public school and assist in the creation of after-school programs and student-assisted teaching programs there. Members of the legendary Sugarhill Gang were among those in attendance at the event. …

Il Divo, a group of four singers put together by “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, will release their debut album in the U.S. on April 19. The group, which combines pop and opera elements, topped the U.K. charts last year. … Fredwreck, Snoop Dogg‘s DJ and a producer for Lindsay Lohan, Snoop and others, is releasing a collection of his tracks called Fredwreck: Greatest Hits Episode 1 on June 15. Fredwreck will also be a part of “Kings of Bling,” a new show where Tony Hawk and Pharrell Williams build skate parks and recording studios in different community centers throughout the country, and “Minding the Store,” a reality show with Pauly Shore. …

Blackmail and robbery charges against former Libertines singer Pete Doherty have been dropped, the BBC reports. Doherty was arrested in early February for allegedly assaulting a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker at the Rookery Hotel in central London. Doherty served four nights in jail and was released on bail. The charges were dropped, according to officials, because of “insufficient evidence for a realistic chance of prosecution.” … According to a posting on Scottish indie rockers the Delgados‘ Web site, the band has decided to call it quits after more than a decade together. The group, which released five records during its career, thanked everyone who supported it, “especially all of our fans.” The split was characterized as amicable. … ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), which hosts a concert series at the Sundance Film Festival, will for the first time bring its Music Lounge to the Tribeca Film Festival. Damien Rice, Ben Jelen and Nic Armstrong and the Thieves are among the acts slated to perform at the Knitting Factory in New York from April 27 to 29. …