For The Record: Quick News On Gwen Stefani, Gang Of Four, Korn, Christina Aguilera, Jewel, ‘Idol’ & More

No Doubt singer working on new LP; post-punks releasing revised music; Head's shoes filled (sort of).

Gwen Stefani might be raking in the VMA nominations for “Hollaback Girl” and “What You Waiting For?” but she’s already moving on to make a sequel to her solo album, Love, Angel, Music, Baby. She was recording last week with Pharrell Williams again and is back in the studio with No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal. One of the new songs she and Kanal have written together is called “Fluorescent Lights,” according to the singer’s label rep. …

Original U.K. dance rockers Gang of Four have recorded their first new album with their original lineup in more than 20 years, though the material isn’t exactly new. Due October 11, Return the Gift features 14 re-recorded versions of classic Gang of Four songs. “Some of the recordings, especially on Entertainment!, in no way reflect the way we sounded live,” guitarist Andy Gill said.” [Return the Gift] is more like us onstage — a lot punchier and more explosive.” A companion album of remixes by Tony Kanal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Dandy Warhols, Ladytron and others is expected in 2006. … Korn have found a replacement for former guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, but don’t expect to see the new addition performing with the band anytime soon. Korn, who’re working on their next album, have recruited former Otep guitarist Rob Patterson to take over for the band’s upcoming European tour, but, as frontman Jonathan Davis detailed in an online posting, “he will not be onstage.” Davis said the band refuses to use “samples or tape, ’cause that would suck,” but admitted Korn are “not ready to have a new guy onstage with us.” Patterson’s stint with the band will end when the European jaunt does, Davis said, promising “some new, exciting ideas on how we are gonna play live in the future” that “will blow your mind.” …

Christina Aguilera is in the middle of recording her new album, but she took a break to do a tune with Herbie Hancock for his new album, Possibilities, due August 30. The two duet on a cover of Leon Russell‘s “A Song for You.” Also collaborating with Hancock on “Possibilities” are Paul Simon, Sting, Carlos Santana, Trey Anastasio, John Mayer and Annie Lennox. … Jewel has signed on to be the face of an organics line called the Healing Garden that is trying to convince customers they can “Save Your Skin, Save the Planet” at the same time. It claims to be the first mass line of organic bath and body products, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Nature Conservancy. The singer designed an awareness bracelet for the line that will be available in September. … Konami Digital Entertainment, makers of music video games “Karaoke Revolution” and “Dance Dance Revolution,” announced Monday that it will be making games based on “American Idol” for current and next-generation consoles. This marks the hit TV series’ second chance at video games. The first, non-Konami batch of “Idol” games was released more than a year ago but met with poor reviews. …

Queen have announced two U.S. concerts in October — their first in more than two decades. The news comes on the heels of Queen’s 32-date European run. Billed as “Queen and Paul Rodgers,” the concert features former Free/ Bad Company frontman Rodgers “collaborating” with Queen; he has not joined the band, but is merely filling in for the late Freddie Mercury, a press release points out. The concerts have been set for October 16 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and October 22 at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood. … When not consulting indie filmmakers’ music choices, Sonic Youth tend to their own music. The experimental noise rockers will reissue their 1990 major-label debut, Goo, as a double CD on September 12. The expanded edition of the disc will contain 31 tracks including demos, outtakes and previously unheard tracks such as a cover of the Beach Boys‘ “I Know There’s an Answer.” Meanwhile, the band is writing material for its 20th record. New songs include “Pink Steam,” “Helen Lundeberg,” “OR” and “Do You Believe in Rapture,” a song that attempts to “come to terms with the religious right,” guitarist Thurston Moore said. …

Where has Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin been and what has he been up to for the past few years? Well, trying to end stereotypes apparently. According to The Associated Press, during Martin’s first trip to the Middle East, the pop heartthrob said he would do his best to help change the negative perception of Arabic youth in the West. “I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes,” the 33-year-old singer said at a youth conference on Monday. Martin plans to embark on a concert tour of the Middle East and North Africa next year. … Tenacious D‘s Kyle Gass will star in a Broadway musical in the works based on the power ballads of the ’80s. Songs from Bon Jovi, Journey, REO Speedwagon and more will be included in the production, titled “Rock of Ages” and currently being shopped to theaters in New York and Las Vegas. …

Björk has a composed a new album. Well, kinda, sorta — at least not a proper full-length. In the vein of her abstract a cappella record, Medulla, the Icelandic imp has collaborated with contemporary visual artist (and the father of her second child) Matthew Barney for the soundtrack of his new experimental film, “Drawing Restraint 9.” Due August 23, The Music of Drawing Restraint 9 features 11 orchestral, vocal-based tracks that center on traditional Japanese music forms. Guests on the record include rustic folk singer Will Oldham of Palace and harpist Zeena Parkins. Both Björk and Barney are featured in the film. … Head Automatica have canceled the remaining dates of their July tour due to the illness of lead singer Daryl Palumbo, who is suffering a relapse of Crohn’s Disease. “I am incredibly sorry for the inconvenience I may have caused, and I promise to see you all soon and make up for the lost time,” the singer said in a letter to fans. …

Eugene Record, the founder of legendary Chicago soul act the Chi-Lites, died Friday after a long battle with cancer, according to the group’s booking agency. He was 64. The Chi-Lites formed in Chicago in 1959 and, led by Baker, scored a number of soul hits, including “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl.” The group’s song “Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)” was the basis for Beyoncé’s hit “Crazy in Love.” … British Blues legend Long John Baldry, who helped launch the careers of the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart, died Thursday of a chest infection, according to his agent. He was 64. Baldry, who got his name due to his 6-foot-7 frame, recorded more than 40 albums during his career, and his hangdog stylings won him a legion of devoted fans, including Elton John, who took his surname in honor of the bluesman. During the 1960s, Baldry’s stage band consisted of a virtual galaxy of stars-to-be, including Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Charlie Watts and Stewart. …

07.22.05

Jessica Simpson, along with her “Dukes of Hazzard” co-star Willie Nelson, will treat U.S. troops stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California, to a special screening of their new flick on July 29. The duo will host the event and spend some quality time with service members and their families, tour the facilities, and field some questions from the crowd about the film. Fellow “Dukes” co-stars Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott will join Simpson to visit troops Tuesday at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, and Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas. …

Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson trial were ordered Thursday to return the singer’s seized possessions — including his extensive porn collection — since a verdict was returned of not guilty on all counts in his child-molestation trial. The items seized also included computers, books, and what Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon referred to as “contraband” — syringes, Demerol and prescriptions for various drugs in different people’s names — which the prosecutor argued should remain confiscated. … Though Courtney Love had to visit a hospital early Thursday morning, her fainting spell was not drug-related, a Los Angeles court decided on Friday. The singer’s status report on her progress in her drug-rehabilitation efforts was “routine,” according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which noted that Love had successfully completed her program and passed all drug tests, saying that she “seems to be on track.” Love is due back in court for a separate status hearing on August 10, and then again on January 27. …

Snoop Dogg has recruited the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube to join him at a benefit concert for his Snoop Youth Football League, which requires kids to maintain certain academic requirements to remain eligible. The concert, which will also include other, as-yet-unannounced artists, is set for August 25 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. … Would you like a celebrity with that order? Clay Aiken, Nick Lachey, Moby and Fat Joe were among a slew of stars who participated in a special 10-day promotion to celebrate Amazon.com’s 10th anniversary. Over 10 days, 23 of the online retailer’s customers received surprise visits from a celebrity associated with their purchase, The Associated Press reports. So Lachey hand-delivered “Newlyweds” on DVD to one lucky buyer, Aiken dropped off his memoir, “Learning to Sing,” to another, and so on. …

New Found Glory‘s Ian Grushka wants the band’s fans to enter an Oscar Mayer essay-writing contest to use the Wienermobile (a giant hot-dog-shaped bus) for one day — and then put it to what he calls “good use,” i.e. spreading vegetarian and animal-rights messages with the help of PETA. The bassist posted a letter to fans on his Web site, iangrushka.net, asking them to use their “creative talents” to come up with ideas that would appeal to Oscar Mayer’s judges so they can hijack the contest. “With a bus this big, there’s no shortage of colorful ways PETA can use the Wienermobile to tell everyone how bad eating meat is for people and animals,” he wrote. The contest ends on Thursday. … Nick Carter‘s sister’s former roommate is suing the famous musical family, claiming that Nick and his father, Bob, failed to supervise 23-year-old Bobby Jean, and that Bobby Jean abused her roommate via various physical altercations. The Backstreet Boy‘s lawyer called the claims “fictional” and “absolutely without merit,” and said that Kate Kelly only named Nick in her suit against his sister Bobby Jean “so that she could get publicity.” Bobby Jean’s lawyer — who also called the claim “frivolous” — said that they have hired private investigators to look into the matter, while Nick plans to countersue. Meanwhile, Bobby Jean is suing other members of her family — her mother, Jane, and sister Leslie, claiming Leslie conspired with their mother to take away her Escalade, by forging her signature, taking ownership and refusing to return the car. …

“American Idol” junkies who’ve been jonesing for more will have to wait until November 22 for their next fix, when some new DVDs are expected to hit stores, featuring the best and worst moments of the hit series. “The Worst of American Idol: Seasons 1-4″ and “The Best of American Idol: Seasons 1-4″ will set you back $20 apiece; the two will also be packaged together as a collector’s-edition set for $35. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the DVDs will include the show’s most breathtaking performances and well as all of the best car-crash auditions from all four seasons. … It looks like Bonnaroo is hitting Sin City. The producers behind the Birkenstock-friendly music festival have confirmed that they will stage an event in Las Vegas around Halloween. The multi-day fest, dubbed Vegoose, will be held from October 28-31, according to its official Web site. An eclectic mix of musicians are expected to attend, but no one has been confirmed as of yet. … M.I.A. plans to headline a U.S. tour this fall. The Sri Lanka-born artist’s 11-city trek will kick off on September 19 in Athens, Georgia, and wrap up on October 5 in San Francisco. …