For The Record: Quick News On R. Kelly, Gucci Mane, Notorious B.I.G., Backstreet Boys, Franz Ferdinand & More

R. Kelly closer to going to trial; Mane arrested; Biggie flick moving ahead.

R. Kelly is one step closer to going to trial on child-pornography charges. His lawyers succeeded Wednesday (July 20) in getting prosecutors to narrow the time frame of when they say the alleged sex tape was made (though not as much as the defense wanted), so the singer can provide an alibi. Unlike many of Kelly’s previous court appearances during the pretrial process, which have usually amounted to the singer asking for continuances or permission to travel outside the jurisdiction, evidence was actually examined and witnesses were heard. The issue will be considered further next week, since Judge Vincent Gaughan has yet to make his ruling on just how much this time frame should be reduced — currently, it covers a span of two years, but the defense wants it to be narrowed to within a period of two days. Kelly is due back in court on July 27. …

Rapper Gucci Mane was arrested in Miami on Friday on an outstanding police warrant, The Associated Press reports. The aggravated-assault warrant was issued in Atlanta for an altercation earlier this month involving a promoter and folks at Mane’s record label, Big Cat Records. The promoter suffered injuries and later filed charges, but the rapper’s lawyer asserts his client was not involved in the fight. The attorney also told the AP on Wednesday that Mane was expected to be sent back to Atlanta, where he’s also facing a murder charge in a separate case, later this week. … There’s been some recent movement on the long-in-the-works Notorious B.I.G. biopic, now that the forthcoming film’s got a studio home (Fox Searchlight), and journalist Cheo Hodari Coker has been hired to pen the script; Coker was the last person to interview the slain rapper before his murder eight years ago. According to Reuters, Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Replacement Killers”) is in negotiations to direct the as-yet-untitled project, which Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and former managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts will produce. …

Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough will host a live and silent auction at the Brulee: The Dessert Experience at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on July 28. The auction will serve as a fund-raiser for the Dorough Lupus Foundation, which the singer founded several years ago to memorialize his sister, who succumbed to Lupus. Howie will also meet with several of his fans who’re suffering from the disease, and escort them to a screening of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” … Performances by Franz Ferdinand, the Pixies and Dashboard Confessional highlight Austin City Limits, a collection of songs recorded during last year’s Austin City Limits music festival in Texas. The 16-track album is due August 30 on Rhino Records and also features performances from acts like the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Neville Brothers. This years’ Austin City Limits fest runs from September 23-25. …

It’s been 12 years since Primus made their Lollapalooza debut, and this weekend, the Les Claypool-led lot is set to perform during Chicago’s two-day Lolla revival. The classic Primus lineup — bassist Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander — will be taking the stage, and even have plans to record a new album together, the band’s first since 1999. Primus will hit the studio later this year to start writing the new material. … Claypool and Michael Franti & Spearhead are among the artists added to Jam Cruise 4. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Digable Planets, Galactic, Umphrey’s McGee and four String Cheese Incident side projects will also perform on the Italian cruise ship MSC Lirica, which will leave port from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on January 7 and hit Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning six days later. …

Marking the 10th anniversary of the overdose death of singer Shannon Hoon, Blind Melon are releasing their first hits collection, Tones of Home: The Best of Blind Melon, on September 27. The CD/DVD will feature songs like “No Rain,” “Galaxie” and “Three Is the Magic Number” (from “Schoolhouse Rock”) along with videos and live performances. Also due September 27 is the concert DVD “Live at the Metro 9.27.95,” which features three bonus songs from an acoustic performance for Canada’s MuchMusic, as well as “Live at the Palace 10.11.95,” which will be available exclusively as a digital music release. …

07.19.2005

Cassidy, who was arrested last month for the murder of a 22-year-old man in his native Philadelphia, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon (July 19) for a preliminary hearing, during which his attorney hoped a judge would grant his request for a bail determination and he’d be released from jail. (The rapper has been behind bars since his arrest on June 17.) Unfortunately for Cassidy, he’ll have to remain in jail for the next month, at least until August 16 — the date set for the next hearing in his case. An eyewitness reported that Cassidy’s criminal court judge ordered ballistics testing to be performed on weapons confiscated during the course of the detectives’ murder investigation, in order to corroborate witness statements. The results from that testing are expected back between now and August 16. According to a spokesperson for Cassidy, the MC is in “good spirits” and his lawyers “are fighting hard for him.” …

New Ashlee Simpson songs are on the way — her manager/father, Joe Simpson, played four new tracks for New York radio station Z100 last week, including “L.O.V.E.,” “Goodbye,” “Who’s Gonna Catch Me When I Fall” and “Didn’t Steal Your Boyfriend.” People who heard the songs described them as being “rockish but girlish” and “fun, upbeat and a little dancey.” The singer’s label rep said that Ashlee’s new album was tentatively slated for an October release, and that “L.O.V.E.” would be one of the singles. … Simple Plan, who are nominated for Choice Rock Group, have been added to the performance roster for next month’s Teen Choice Awards, joining the previously announced Gwen Stefani. Also scheduled to appear are Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Jessica Alba, Ryan Seacrest, Rachel Bilson, Wilmer Valderrama, Eva Mendes, Jesse McCartney, Emma Roberts, Tyler Hilton and Jessica and Ashlee Simpson. The seventh annual awards show will air August 16 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. …

Nelly is following in 50 Cent‘s footsteps by hooking up with Reebok for a new shoe line. Nelly’s deal will include a signature collection of athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, to be launched this holiday season with expanded distribution next year. The collection will feature clean, aggressive, sports-inspired designs. “I’ve always been into sneakers and throughout my career I’ve always wanted to have a signature pair of sneakers that truly reflect my personal style,” Nelly said in a statement. He’ll also be featured in the “I Am What I Am” campaign. … The Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, M.I.A. and a little act called Coldplay are among the 12 nominees for the U.K.’s prestigious Mercury Prize, awarded for the year’s best album. The prize, now in its 14th year, honors the best albums made by British and Irish artists, with the winning act receiving £20,000. Previous winners include Franz Ferdinand, PJ Harvey and Pulp. The Mercury Prize winner will be announced on September 6. …

Madonna‘s upcoming documentary, “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret,” doesn’t just focus on the staging of the Reinvention Tour — it also includes her trips around the world, the singer told Vogue for its August issue cover story. “If I’m going to take people through a journey of my life, they are going to see all my journeys,” she told the magazine, explaining the detour to Israel to visit Rachel’s tomb as part of a Kabbalah experience. “I hope they will also be moved by it. The feeling in Israel is like no other place. I felt very comfortable there.” As for her original documentary, 1991’s “Truth or Dare,” Madonna told Vogue that it was “hard for me to watch.” “I was a very selfish person,” she said. “You go through periods where the world does revolve around you, but you can’t live your whole life that way. On the other hand, I kind of admire my spunk and directness!” … Fans packed West Hollywood’s Key Club to capacity Monday night to see Perry Farrell‘s new band, Satellite Party — which also includes No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, ex-Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and percussionist Gabriele Corcos — play their first-ever live show. Cheering on the band was Kanal’s No Doubt bandmates Adrian Young and Gwen Stefani, who had hubby Gavin Rossdale by her side. Limp Bizkit‘s Fred Durst and Audioslave‘s Tom Morello were also in attendance. …

Head Automatica have been forced to cancel seven of their upcoming tour dates (those shows scheduled from Tuesday in Denver to July 28 in Los Angeles), due to frontman Daryl Palumbo‘s recent Crohn’s Disease relapse. Palumbo, who is undergoing treatment at an undisclosed hospital, has lived with the condition for most of his life. … The fight to save New York punk landmark CBGB is in full swing, with several fund-raising events and concerts planned for August — what could very well end up being the club’s final 31 days in existence. As expected, a number of high-profile acts are hopping on the bandwagon, the latest being Chevelle, who will perform at the venue on August 4. Proceeds generated from the group’s performance will be donated to the Project Save CBGB campaign. “The list of artists that have performed at the club is endless, and many of them, including the Ramones, Quicksand and Living Colour, are responsible for launching a thousand careers,” Chevelle frontman Pete Loeffler said. “This club is part of rock history. We can’t let it go quietly.” …

Laurel Aitken, known among the rudest of the rude as the godfather of ska, died Sunday morning at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England, from a heart attack, according to a statement from the music pioneer’s family. He was 78. Aitken was known for his many firsts: He was Jamaica’s first real recording star, one of the first artists to ever release a ska record and one of the first to record for the seminal Island label. He was perhaps best known for his slack songs “Fire in Mi Wire,” “Pussy Price” (subsequently rearranged by the English Beat into “Ranking Full Stop”), “Rudy Got Married” and “Skinhead Train.” … Rick James‘ first European performance, on April 3, 1982, at the Rockpalast Festival in Essen, Germany, is coming to DVD on July 26. “Rick James: Superfreak Live 1982″ features James performing with his Stone City Band. …

Jamiroquai will release their sixth album, Dynamite (a nod to Napoleon Dynamite‘s memorable dance scene to “Canned Heat”), on September 20. Joseph Kahn (U2, Eminem) directed the video for the first single, “Feels Just Like It Should.” … Former Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine is getting some all-star help on her upcoming solo debut, Light Years, due September 6 on her own All for One label. Valentine, who produced the album and sings and plays guitar, is joined by drummers Clem Burke (Blondie) and Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello & the Attractions), former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. …