For The Record: Quick News On Ashlee Simpson, Bo Bice, Kylie Minogue, Serj Tankian And Buckethead, Eels & More

Ashlee plays 14-year-old's party, Bo Bice and Sugar Money single available, Kylie recovering from surgery.

Ashlee Simpson‘s tour is over, but she might still be willing to give you a private show if you can pony up the dough — the big dough, as in $35,000 a song. That’s the going rate to get the singer to play your birthday, as she did on Friday night at New York’s Cipriani restaurant for one lucky 14-year-old, whose daddy just so happens to be wealthy fashion mogul Silas Chou, a bigwig at Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors who could easily afford the $145,000 price tag for the Willy Wonka-themed fest. …

For all you kids who’d love you some Bo Bice, the “American Idol” finalist and his hometown band, Sugar Money, have released an exclusive single for the launch of GarageBand Podcast Studio, the first Web-based tool to record, mix and publish a podcast. “Papion” by Bo Bice & Sugar Money is now available through GarageBand.com. … Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue, 36, is recuperating after successful surgery on Friday at a Melbourne, Australia, hospital to treat an early form of breast cancer, according to a Reuters report. The singer’s doctors said they are confident that they caught the cancer in time. Australian clinics are reporting a deluge of women coming in for breast exams in the wake of Minogue’s diagnosis. …

As Michael Jackson‘s defense attorneys start to wind up their case, they attempted to drive home on Monday (May 23) their argument that the accuser’s mother is a gold-digger after the singer’s money. A social-services employee testified that the mother did not declare on her welfare application the charitable contributions her family had received for her son’s cancer costs, and did not mention the settlement her family had received from JC Penney, despite a question on the form that asked “Has anyone in the family received a court settlement?” The social-services worker said this constituted welfare fraud. The accuser’s aunt on his father’s side also took the stand on Monday, saying that she had heard on TV there was a need for blood for her nephew, so she organized a blood drive. But, the aunt said, the mother had complained to her about it, saying she didn’t need the blood, she needed money. … According to a spokesperson for System of a Down, frontman Serj Tankian has been working on material for masked funk axeman Buckethead‘s forthcoming album. Buckethead, he of the failed Guns N’ Roses reincarnation of a few years back, sent Tankian some instrumentals, and asked the singer to help enhance the tracks with different vocalists, including poet Saul Williams. …

In what can be attributed to an extreme act of facial-hair bias, the Darkness have parted ways with mustachioed bassist Frankie Poullain. Actually, the reason for the split appears to be rather tame. In a posting on the band’s official site, TheDarknessRock.com, the band cites “musical differences” as the cause for Poullain’s departure, adding that “a replacement will be named within [the] coming months.” The Darkness are currently in the studio, working on the follow-up to 2003′s Permission to Land with Cheap Trick and Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. … Two members of Bobby Brown‘s entourage were hospitalized on Monday for treatment of knife wounds after a fight erupted at Justin’s Restaurant and Bar in Atlanta, according to The Associated Press. Brown was performing at a weekly open-mic event at the restaurant owned by P. Diddy when two of his people got involved in an altercation. The suspects fled immediately after the fight. Authorities say the singer was not involved, and the cause for the fight was not immediately known. Both men remain in stable condition. Meanwhile, Diddy and his Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group are cooperating with authorities in the criminal investigation. …

Willie Nelson is going reggae. His next album, Countryman, includes covers of Jimmy Cliff‘s “The Harder They Come” and “Sitting in Limbo” as well as duets with Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals. Other reggae-infused country tunes on the album, due August 2, include “I’m a Worried Man,” written by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, as well as nine originals, such as “Darkness on the Face of the Earth,” “I’ve Just Destroyed the World” and “I Guess I’ve Come to Live Here.” … British rockers Def Leppard will release Yeah! on September 20, according to the band’s Web site. An album’s worth of cover tunes (22, to be precise), the disc will include Def Lep adaptations of Thin Lizzy‘s “Don’t Believe a Word,” David Bowie‘s “Drive-in Saturday,” Blondie‘s “Hanging on the Telephone,” MC5‘s “Kick Out the Jams,” Roxy Music‘s “Street Life,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ “American Girl” and the Police‘s “Roxanne.” …

E has mapped out a June tour for his band the Eels, which will kick off on June 15 in San Francisco. The 13-date trek, in support of Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, will hit Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston before coming to a close on June 30 in New York. … Morrissey hardly seems the type to make a fuss on his birthday, but the legendary mope-rock pioneer celebrated his 46th in style Sunday night catching psychobilly band Tiger Army, who were playing one of five sold-out nights at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Tiger Army leader Nick 13 dedicated a cover of “The Loop” to his idol, who was sitting in the balcony. …

05.20.2005

Britney Spears might be more of a practicing Baptist or sometime Kabbalist, but she also gives props to the pope in a new video tribute. She joins ‘NSYNC, Monica, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in reading inspirational prayers, stories and poems from the late Pope John Paul II in a clip available for download at popejpII.navio.com. …

Kelly Clarkson will perform in New York’s Central Park on Saturday afternoon. The concert is part of Allure magazine’s Beauty Live event, which will include a beauty village filled with free makeovers, product samples, expert skincare advice and more, with proceeds benefiting the Skin Cancer Foundation. … You might associate Mötley Crüe with strip clubs and hard liquor, but frontman Vince Neil is actually more of a fine-wine guy — so much so that he’s making his own. Vince Vineyards will release its first two wines this spring — a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2003 Sonoma Chardonnay — which will be available in Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; and New York (national distribution will follow). “I have enjoyed great wine for most of my life and wanted to create something other wine lovers could experience and appreciate,” Neil said. “Our first two releases are both amazing wines and I can’t imagine enjoying fresh seafood or grilled steak with anything else.” …

Add Madonna to the list of well-wishers hoping for a speedy recovery for Kylie Minogue, who is undergoing breast-cancer surgery this week. “I was saddened to learn about Kylie’s diagnosis,” Madonna posted on her Web site. “I’m so grateful that they found it early. Aside from being tremendously talented, Kylie’s a fighter and I know this is a battle she will win.” Madonna also called the news “yet another reminder for all women to have annual mammograms.” … Meanwhile, a judge in Mons, Belgium, has frozen royalties for “Frozen” in that country — until a plagiarism lawsuit against Madonna is resumed next month. Composer Salvatore Acquaviva is suing the Material Mom, accusing her of lifting the melody of her 1998 hit from his 1993 song “Ma Vie Fout L’camp” (“My Life’s Getting Nowhere”). Madonna’s lawyer Fabienne Brison denied the charge, telling Belgian television station RTL, “Just because there are similarities between two songs, it doesn’t mean it has been plagiarized.” …

Cut Chemist has ripped it up for Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, and now the DJ is getting busy on a solo LP. The album, The Audiences’ Listening, is due this fall, and he describes it as a mix of Brazilian samba, rock and hip-hop beats, electro and samples — lots of samples. “The album is hip-hop in the sense that it’s cut-and-paste, and there’s a lot of turntablist stuff on there,” he said. “You really get a feel of me going through records to put this together.” … The Offspring have one new song called “Can’t Repeat” slated for their upcoming greatest-hits collection, due June 21. The Offspring’s Greatest Hits will also include “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated),” “Self Esteem,” “All I Want,” “Gone Away,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Defy You.” The DualDisc version will include an acoustic performance of “Dirty Magic.” The group is also releasing a music-video collection, due out July 5, which will include the band-produced rarities “Da Hui” and “Cool to Hate” as well as live television performances. …

The String Cheese Incident will headline the Big Summer Classic 2005 tour, which launches July 2 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver and wraps up later in the month. Keller Williams, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey’s McGee and New Monsoon are also on the bill. … Street Drum Corps, a street-drum exhibition that No Doubt‘s Adrian Young and Bad Religion‘s Brooks Wackerman have previously participated in, will perform at the California and Arizona dates of this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, from June 29 to July 7. SDC will perform a 15-minute set five times a day on its own stage. Each performance will feature a special guest joining the group. …

Louis XIV shot a video for “God Killed the Queen” Thursday night in Los Angeles, where fans were invited to be in the crowd for the live-performance scenes, if they “dressed to impress.” The clip was directed by the collective Made by Robots, and it’s supposed to have a “Sid & Nancy,” rock-and-roll-mayhem-at-the-Chelsea-Hotel feel to reflect the band’s glam-punk vibe. Meanwhile, the group’s tour with the Killers, which was to start Monday in St. Louis, is now slated to kick off Wednesday in Chicago. The Monday St. Louis and Tuesday Louisville, Kentucky, dates were postponed by the Killers for “personal reasons,” according to Louis XIV’s Web site. … A remix of “Shed Your Skin” by Tom Morello, a live performance of “Ramblin’ Round” with Ani DiFranco and a collaboration with Michael Stipe on “I’ll Give You My Skin” are among the tracks featured on the Indigo Girls‘ new Rarities collection, due June 14. Covers of “Clampdown” from 1999′s Burning London – The Clash Tribute, and “Uncle John’s Band” from 1991′s Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead are also included. …