For The Record: Quick News On Nelly, Michael Jackson, Justin, Gwen And Pharrell, Hoobastank & More

Warped Tour organizers call off benefit; Nelly, Macy Gray help hurricane survivors.

On Monday (September 12), organizers pulled the plug on Unite the United, a Warped Tour/ Taste of Chaos-style concert to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina, due to “complications in scheduling.” The show — which was to feature such acts as the Used, Hoobastank and Pennywise — was scheduled to take place on October 8 in Irvine, California. Instead, organizers are pledging that 50 cents from every ticket purchased for the 2006 Warped and Taste of Chaos tours will be donated to Katrina charities. …

Michael Jackson‘s reeling in some big names for his hurricane-relief charity single, “From the Bottom of My Heart.” So far, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, R. Kelly, Ciara, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J. Blige, James Brown, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Babyface are among the artists who’ve signed on to sing on the track, according to Jackson’s rep. All proceeds will be donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina. …

Nelly has just sent two 18-wheeler trucks loaded with supplies, clothing, toiletries and financial donations to hurricane-affected areas, he said. Most of the donations came from a fund-raising and clothing drive he held in St. Louis, where “everyone came out. It was unbelievable.” Nelly’s also doing a benefit concert with David Banner in Atlanta on Saturday, with T.I., Young Jeezy, Twista and more, through Banner’s Heal the Hood Foundation. “He’s been affected personally,” Nelly said of Banner, “and he’s also a good friend of mine. We’re working on a few other things. I think people will be working on this through the year. I don’t think we’ll see anybody slow up.” … Those who thoroughly enjoyed Mötley Crüe‘s rendition of “Home Sweet Home” during Saturday night’s “ReAct Now: Music & Relief,” which featured guest vocals from Chester Bennington, will be glad to know that the hard livin’ rockers have recorded the track with the Linkin Park frontman. The song, according to Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx‘s Web site, will be released as a single. All proceeds generated through sales of the track will benefit the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. …

Macy Gray is getting hands-on with the hurricane-relief effort. She spent her Labor Day weekend at the Houston Astrodome dispensing water, clothes and toiletries, and she returned to Houston this past weekend to give a little personal attention to a few evacuees. “Me and some friends of mine” — including Afeni Shakur — “we’re going to adopt 10 families,” Gray said. “We’re taking them to this apartment building [in Atlanta] where we got them 10 units.” From there, Gray said, they’re going to help the parents get jobs and get their kids registered for school. “My heart went out to these people,” Gray said. “They don’t have anything left. People have really lost everything. They’re evacuated, but they have nowhere to go now. They have no plan. They don’t know what’s happening one day to the next. And they won’t have anything unless someone comes along and helps them out.” … Meanwhile, Gray has just finished recording her upcoming album Big, which features Justin Timberlake singing on two tracks: “Get Out” and “Okay.” “It’s one of the most awesome things I’ve ever heard,” she said. “You got to hear it. [Justin's] a really dope guy. I like him.” …

Billy Idol is auctioning off 100 tickets a night from his current tour, with the proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross. “That’s the immediate thing I can do,” he said. “I’m on the road till December, so we can do a lot with that.” Idol’s tour, which has its next stop Tuesday in Poughkeepsie, New York, runs through December 8 in Dusseldorf, Germany. … Destiny’s Child ended their final concert together on Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia, amid an onstage waterfall and an air-cannon blast of confetti and rose petals. According to a Canadian Press account, before leaving the stage, Beyoncé told the crowd, “We don’t want to get too mushy … Destiny’s Child started when we were 9 years old. This isn’t something somebody put together. This is love.” The group’s final U.S. show took place on Friday in Seattle. …

Pharrell Williams is keeping a tight lid on what his new songs with Gwen Stefani sound like. The pair had been recording tracks in Miami for her second solo album, and after six or seven of them, Pharrell said, “We’re actually done. They sound hot.” But that’s all he’d say. “I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag,” he laughed. “I can’t say too much yet.” … Could Alicia Keys be turning into a full-blown rocker chick? If her upcoming edition of “MTV Unplugged” is any indication, the answer is yes — because it finds her flirting with rock, playing with John Mayer and covering the Rolling Stones‘ “Wild Horses.” She’s going even more full force on her next studio album, for which she’s got five songs done so far. “It’s turning into something a lot more edgy,” she said, “something that is kind of led by guitars and interesting sounds that are more electric. It’s very in your face and lyrically forward and I’m feeling it.” Keys also hopes to get some more collaborations in the can. “I want to do some crazy collaborations, like White Stripes, Rolling Stones, some things like that,” she said. Her “Unplugged” DVD is due out October 11. …

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown died on Saturday in his hometown of Orange, Texas, at the age of 81, according to his booking agent. The eclectic singer and guitarist’s music was a melting pot of blues, R&B, swing and Cajun influences. Brown, who had been suffering from lung cancer and heart disease, left his home in Slidell, Louisiana, last week to escape Hurricane Katrina and lost all his belongings in the storm. … Shaggy, Kelly Osbourne, Ani DiFranco, Vivian Green, Sarah McLachlan and members of Taking Back Sunday are among the special guests Cyndi Lauper has enlisted to help her re-imagine her hits on her upcoming ninth album, The Body Acoustic, due November 8. Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara joins Lauper on “Money Changes Everything,” Osbourne appears on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” McLachlan sings on “Time After Time” and Shaggy lends his voice to “All Through the Night.” The album also contains two new songs, “Above the Clouds” (featuring guitarist Jeff Beck) and “I’ll Be Your River” (with Green). …

09.09.2005

It seems like forever (forever, ever, ever, ever) since Outkast‘s Andre 3000 and Big Boi signed on for the HBO film they initially dubbed “My Life in Idlewild.” The flick — a musical set in the 1930s, which is at the moment untitled — has been filmed and sitting in the can. On Friday (September 9), the project got a shot in the arm as Universal Pictures announced that it would pick up the movie for distribution, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s slated to be released in 2006. …

It’s been more than two years in the making, but Green Day leader Billie Joe Armstrong‘s big-screen debut is finally slated for release. Armstrong stars in “Live Freaky! Die Freaky!,” a stop-motion animated musical inspired by the Charles Manson family murders. The “American Idiot” singer portrays a young man who adopts a book about the killings as his bible and preaches about a better world through “music, murder and mayhem.” The film also features the voice of Rancid/Transplants member Tim Armstrong, as well as fellow members of Green Day, Rancid and the Transplants; actress Asia Argento; and members of the bands X, Good Charlotte, Blink-182 and AFI. The flick will be released in early 2006, according to The Hollywood Reporter.Benji and Joel Madden‘s production team, the Dead Executives, are going from recording tracks with Hilary Duff to punk band the Bottom Line. “[Our] band always comes first, though,” Joel said. “Right now we’re exclusively working on Good Charlotte.” …

Rapper-turned-producer Kwamé, coming off Lloyd Banks‘ “On Fire” and Will Smith‘s “Switch,” is in the studio with Janet Jackson, Chingy and Christina Aguilera. “[Christina and I] just did a song called ‘Understanding,’ ” he said. “It’s very different, very avant-garde. It reminds you of old blues. It’s more or less a ballad, live strings, live band.” … Cool & Dre, the Miami producers behind Terror Squad‘s “Lean Back” and the Game‘s “Hate It or Love It,” are currently working on tracks with Snoop Dogg, Christina Milian, Mya, Shakira, Joe, Fabolous and Tyrese. Cool is also nearly finished with his solo album and has Hype Williams lined up to direct the first video. …

Dashboard Confessional have booked three charity gigs, the ticket and merchandise proceeds from which will be donated to various relief organizations working to assist the thousands of people who’ve been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Those concerts have been scheduled for September 18 at the Phoenix in Toronto, September 19 at Chicago’s House of Blues, and September 28 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. … After finding them wandering the streets, Houston rapper Lil’ Troy has taken 10 Hurricane Katrina evacuees into his home, providing them with food and clothing, according to his spokesperson. Troy has also teamed with the nonprofit Black Heritage Society in asking for people to donate clothes, canned goods, toys, books and magazines for those affected by the disaster. You can send donations to: Black Heritage Society, 2900 Woodridge, Suite 311, Houston, TX 77087, or go to blackheritagesociety.org for more information. …

It looks like an alien pet and works like a freaky speaker. The new animatronic DJ toy from Zizzle called iZ will be unveiled at a nightclub-themed party for kids at the Toys “R” Us store in New York’s Times Square on September 29, with live performances by Rihanna, Lifehouse and DJ AM. iZ users can mix and scratch their own beats, change up rhythms or use it as a dancing speaker for their iPods. … A museum dedicated to the Ramones will open in Berlin on September 16. It will boast more than 300 original memorabilia items, collected between the band’s earliest stages all the way up through the final Ramones concert nine years ago. Along with hundreds of press clippings and gig flyers, the museum features one of the first Ramones concert T-shirts, a pair of Johnny Ramone‘s jeans, sneakers and drumsticks used by Marky, and Joey‘s old stage glove. There’s even a leather jacket along with the Ramones’ debut on vinyl — both signed by all four members of the groundbreaking punk act. …

Veronica Mars is doing a crossover of sorts, with one of the bands on the show’s soundtrack. The Faders, an all-girl poppy rock band that’s already got a buzz in the U.K., shot the video for their single off the soundtrack, “No Sleep Tonight”; several castmembers are featured in the clip, which was shot Thursday in San Diego. In return, the band makes an appearance on the fifth episode of the series’ new season, which shoots Friday, to air October 26. Also on the soundtrack, due September 27, are the Dandy Warhols, Spoon, Tegan and Sara, Mike Doughty, Stereophonics and Ivy. Season two of the UPN show premieres September 28 at 9 p.m. ET. …