For The Record: Quick News On 50 Cent, Luther Vandross, P. Diddy, Tool, System Of A Down, Fat Joe & More

50 turns 30; Vandross honored; Diddy settles.

50 Cent had a working birthday last week. The rapper turned 30 on Wednesday and was serenaded by cast and crewmembers on the Bronx, New York, set of his debut film, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” (They opted for the traditional “Happy Birthday” instead of the “it’s your birthday” line from “In Da Club.”) Director Jim Sheridan presented 50 with his birthday cake (complete with candles in the shape of the numerals “5″ and “0″). …

Luther Vandross‘ peers continue to pay homage to him. On Monday night in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, radio station Kiss-FM hosted an all-star musical tribute to the late R&B singer at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Whitney Houston‘s mother, Cissy Houston, Jaheim, Erykah Badu, Freddie Jackson and Jill Scott were among those who performed. … Random House and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs have “amicably” settled a lawsuit filed by the publisher back in February. The suit alleged that Combs failed to return a $300,000 advance Random House paid him to write his memoirs, which he never completed. Due to a confidentiality agreement, details of the settlement — including whether or not Combs was forced to return the cash — were not revealed by Random House, though a spokesperson did make it clear that the company wouldn’t be publishing any books by Diddy in the near future. Calls to Diddy’s publicist were not returned by press time. …

Jermaine Dupri, Yellowcard, Fat Joe, the Roots and Pete Yorn have signed on for the upcoming Fusion Flash Concerts (fusionflashconcerts.com), a series of free, spontaneous flashmob shows. The performances will take place in secret locations announced at the last minute via text message, and will kick off in New York with the Roots, followed by Dupri in Atlanta in a few weeks. … According to Tool‘s Web site, a special double vinyl edition of the band’s 2001 album, Lateralus, should hit stores on August 23 — but then again, there could be a “slight delay,” which “hopefully [will be] no more than a week.” The band is in Los Angeles at the moment, working on its next album; no release date has yet been announced. …

This Halloween, make sure that no matter which soiree you attend, you’re assured a win for best costume. How, you wonder? By scoring yourself one of those sweet uniforms worn by the festering zombie army featured in System of a Down‘s “B.Y.O.B.” video. The uniform is comprised of a black jumpsuit, black leather gloves, black military-style leather boots, a head rag, and special headgear, with visor, festooned with the word “BUY” across the front. Right now, System fans can log onto eBay to bid on the rock and roll fatigues; the highest bidder will also get an autographed band photo. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Veterans Hospital in West Los Angeles. The auction runs for seven days only. … The members of Chevelle cannot tell a lie: bassist Joe Loeffler didn’t leave the band — he was shown the door. On Monday, in a joint statement, the Loefflers — brothers Joe, frontman and guitarist Pete and drummer Sam — came clean about the band’s situation. “We’ve spent 10 great years building Chevelle, but irreconcilable differences have led to an unfortunate parting of ways between Joe and the band,” the statement reads. “Chevelle will return to the road for a string of summer shows, to be followed by writing sessions for a new album. Thanks to all of our fans, friends and family for their continued love and support.” …

Ludacris was on hand for a screening of his movie “Crash” — which examines the complexities of racial tolerance — at the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee on Sunday. He and his co-star Michael Pena as well as the film’s director, Paul Haggis, participated in a panel discussion following the screening. ” ‘Crash’ has ignited a public debate that our nation needs to have,” Haggis said, calling the film a “relevant starting point to discuss race relations in this country.” … Going to Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend? You might run into Charlize Theron, who’ll be there on Saturday to lead a panel following a first look at her upcoming flick “Aeon Flux.” The panel will also include co-star Marton Csokas, director Karyn Kusama, producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Gale, “Aeon Flux” creator Peter Chung and “War of the Worlds” visual-effects supervisor Pable Helman. …

It took 10 years for Willie Nelson to complete his new reggae album, Countryman, which might be why his label is not taking any chances when it eventually hits store shelves. The cover depicts a pot leaf on a red-and-yellow background, making it look like a pack of rolling papers; but fans buying the CD at Wal-Mart will find the weed substituted by a palm tree, a pre-emptive measure to avoid a ban from the huge retailer. “They’re covering all the bases,” Nelson, 72, told The Associated Press. … Patti Smith is back in the studio, but she’s not working on any new material. The punk poetess is actually recording her first full album of cover songs, according to her label rep. One possible song that she’s been performing live that might make the cut: George Michael‘s “Father Figure.” …

07.11.2005

Kelly Clarkson postponed her Sunday show in New Orleans and will be doing the same for her show Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida, due to the severe weather hitting the area. New dates will be announced “as soon as possible,” her label rep said, and all tickets sold for these shows will be honored for the new rescheduled dates. …

Battery charges against Corey Clark stemming from a food fight last month have been dropped, according to the Sacramento County district attorney’s office. Prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to justify continuing the case. … “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis has recorded his rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (widely considered one of this past season’s highlights) for Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen, which has been pushed back a week to August 9. Maroulis worked with the cast of “We Will Rock You,” the musical currently playing at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, for his rendition. Josh Kelley (“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”) and Shinedown (“Tie Your Mother Down”) have also been added to the compilation, joining previously announced artists Flaming Lips, Eleven featuring Queens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme, Gavin DeGraw, Sum 41 and others. …

On Friday night at New York’s Capitale, Usher held a black-tie fund-raising dinner for his New Look Foundation. Tennis star Andre Agassi, who was on hand, described the event as the “start of an amazing journey,” and legendary producer Quincy Jones said he came to show support because “he is my dog, my brother from another …” Usher himself said he was looking forward to helping educate kids on the business side of the sports and entertainment industries. … Brian McKnight is slated to sing the national anthem before the start of the All-Star Game in Detroit on Tuesday. The R&B singer will also be joined by members of the Winans gospel family to perform “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch, organizers confirmed Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

After warming up with a show at Spaceland in Los Angeles on July 28, Head Automatica will hit the road with Finch and Rx Bandits for a few weeks beginning the next night across town at the Henry Fonda Theater. The outing wraps August 11 in Norfolk, Virginia. … A watch made out of Vince Neil‘s leather jacket is being auctioned on eBay to benefit the Skylar Neil Foundation (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6542812928). The top bidder will also get to meet Mötley Crüe at their July 26 show in Irvine, California, at a preshow party hosted by KLSX-FM. …

DMC of Run-DMC fame will release two singles (“Machine Gun” and “WatchTower”) this month in advance of his debut solo album, Checks, Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, due later this year. The album will feature Run, Sarah McLachlan, Doug E. Fresh, Kid Rock, Fieldy from Korn, DJ Lethal and Napoleon from the Outlawz. … Wrekonize, the winner of MTV’s “MC Battle 2: Takeover in Times Square,” is releasing his first single, “Problem,” later this month. His debut album, Runaround, will follow in early 2006. … Josh Kelley has set an August 23 release date for his second album, Almost Honest. Katherine Heigl of “Grey’s Anatomy” stars in the video for the first single, the Matrix-produced “Only You.” …