For The Record: Quick News On Linkin Park, Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Madonna, Ice Cube, Steve-O & More

Linkin Park to work with Rick Rubin; Duff talks weight; Madonna to tour.

Linkin Park revealed on the green carpet at the Grammys and in a posting to their Web site that they'll be working with none other than producer Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Z) for their next album. "Right now, we're in the experimental phase of the writing process for our new record. There is no solid direction yet; we're trying to be as eclectic as we can for the moment and then we'll see what stands out the most out of all the music we write, which will give us more of an identity to strive for," DJ Joseph Hahn wrote on the site. "We wanted to step it up as far as working with a producer and really try to create an atmosphere that will challenge us in different ways. We chose Rick Rubin because his credits alone speak a lot about his ability and his open-mindedness as a producer. With this record, we're striving to come up with something different than what we've done before. We look forward to touring and sharing our new music with all of our fans, hopefully by this summer after our album is complete." ...

Ice Cube's releasing his new album, Laugh Now, Cry Later, through his own label, Lench Mob, on June 6. The rapper worked with Snoop Dogg, WC, Lil Jon, Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz on the 18 tracks that comprise his seventh solo album, including "Chrome & Paint" and the first single, "Why We Thugs," which is about weapons, narcotics, politics and the ghetto. ... Madonna's been hinting that she'd like to tour behind Confessions on a Dance Floor, and on Thursday (February 9), she made it official. While a guest on "Ellen," Madonna told the audience, "I can't hide it anymore. I'm going on tour this summer." To celebrate, she invited host Ellen DeGeneres to dance to her new single, "Sorry." Dates have yet to be announced. ...

Ashlee Simpson, who's dated Ryan Cabrera and is now going out with her guitarist Braxton Olita, has a thing for rocker boys, she admits in the March issue of Elle magazine (she's on the cover). "I only love musicians! I can't help it," she told the mag. "Bass, drums, guitar — you just got to play something." But despite the new love in her life, Ashlee's not completely blissed out, because she's really upset about the tabloid coverage of her sister, Jessica Simpson. "When I hear or read somebody say something about her, I want to kick them!" she said. "I'm like, 'What the f--- did you just say about my sister?' Those magazines are messing with people's lives! My mom always tells me, 'They better be prayin' that their babies are going to be OK when they're trying to destroy my kids' lives!' We're Texans." ... Hilary Duff denies that she has an eating disorder in the new issue of Cosmopolitan. In the cover story, she explains that she lost what she calls her "baby fat" because she cut out carbs like pasta, rice and bread during her tour, swam 30 laps a day, and got "obsessed" with Pilates, doing it three or four times a week. "Look at me," she told the mag. "You can see that I'm healthy." Duff doesn't know exactly how much weight she's lost because she doesn't weigh herself, she said, but she does admit to feeling some pressure to be thin. "There was a story [in Star magazine in 2004] called 'Hilary Duff Puffs Up.' What the hell? That is just so mean. You see that and you're like, 'Oh my God. Am I fat? Am I ugly?' " ...

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are expanding their brand to include makeup. The twins are launching a cosmetics collection for tweens and teens this month in Claire's stores, starting with products for lips and eyes. Other items are in development to launch in time for the back-to-school season later this year. ... Kristin Cavallari might be known to her "Laguna Beach" fans as a real party animal, but she says life is anything but a party for her furry friends. She's starring in a new campaign for PETA, which shows her hugging a bunny beside the tagline "Try Telling Him It's Just a Little Trim." "Who would want someone killing you for your skin? It's the same thing," Cavallari says. "Just think about where the little bit of fur you're wearing on boots or on scarves is coming from." Meanwhile, Cavallari gets busy on the next episode of "Get This Party Started," where she throws a surprise graduation party for Arizona State mascot Chris August (known to the campus as "Sparky"). The episode airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on UPN. ...

Steve-O allegedly refused to put out his cigarette on a domestic flight out of Atlanta a year and a half ago, and now he's facing a $25,000 fine for it. An FAA spokesperson confirmed on Thursday (February 9) that it has a pending case against the "Jackass" stuntman, while his lawyer said they're in the middle of trying to work it out. "My lawyer instructed me to 'not comment any further' about chain-smoking on airplanes," Steve-O said. "I agreed to go along with him, and I find it hysterical that it took me this long in life to 'not have a comment' about something. Yeah!" ... Spearhead's Michael Franti has got more than a new album on the way — he's also got a film, which he scored and directed. "I Know I'm Not Alone," which starts screening in New York on Saturday, captures his journey into the war zones of Baghdad, Palestine and Israel this past year, for which he was accompanied by two human-rights lawyers and a retired U.S. Army captain, among others. "This film came out of my frustration with watching the nightly news and hearing generals, politicians and pundits explaining the political and economic cost of the war in the Middle East, without ever mentioning the human cost," Franti said. "I wanted to hear about the war by the people affected by it most." ...

The next season of "Rock Star" needs, well, a new rock star. Though the show won't disclose which band will get a new singer this go-round, the producers are hoping hopefuls won't mind not knowing. Open-call auditions are being held in Austin, Texas, March 1, in Boston March 3, in Atlanta March 6, in New York March 8, in Chicago March 11, in Minneapolis March 16, in Seattle March 18, in San Francisco March 21, and in Los Angeles March 31. ...

02.07.2006

Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Kelly Rowland and "TRL" 's Susie Castillo were among those who popped up on the pink carpet for Monday night's premiere of "The Pink Panther" in New York, along with the film's cast, Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer and Beyoncé, who plays international pop star (and possible suspect) Xania. "The toughest thing about my part was not laughing," Beyoncé said, noting that her scenes only took three weeks to shoot. "I got to wear the most beautiful clothes and a 50-carat pink diamond ring, and I didn't have to do much research [to play a pop star]!" ...

(Check out photos of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Ben Stiller and more at the "Pink Panther" premiere.)

Britney Spears has raised eyebrows yet again thanks to a photo taken by a paparazzo. On Monday, she was photographed with baby Sean Preston in her lap, not a car seat, while driving in Malibu, California. That's against the law in the Golden State, where children under 6 are required to be secured with a child-passenger restraint. Spears told People magazine that she didn't have time to properly secure her baby because she had a "horrifying, frightful encounter with the paparazzi," and was taking measures "to get my baby and me out of harm's way." "I love my child and would do anything to protect him," she said. The photo agency X17, meanwhile, claims that the pictures were taken in a "very peaceful context," with no aggressive behavior from the photographer. The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department are investigating. ... Alicia Keys is a sexy assassin in her upcoming movie "Smokin' Aces," but she's the first to admit that she doesn't usually see herself as tough or sexy. "I grew up in an area that was pretty rough, so I had to compensate with how I dressed," she told CosmoGirl for its March issue (she's on the cover). "If I came across as too slutty or sexy or showed too much, it would cause lots of problems. That's why I called myself a tomboy ... I was always feminine, but I felt I had to protect myself." She's more comfortable with revealing her sensual side now, she tells the mag, as long as it's subtle. "Sexy to me now is when you leave something to the imagination. ... Sexy to me now is when you show a little bit of your back and that's it." ...

Now that "Laguna Beach" has washed away, Kristin Cavallari has a new show hitting the small screen, called "Get This Party Started." Cavallari's job as co-host is to help distract and deceive the intended recipients of surprise parties, most of whom have suffered a tragedy or hit a milestone in their life. "It's like 'Extreme Home Makeover,' " she said. "It really touches you, seeing the reaction these people have — they're so thankful and grateful. And all the crazy stuff we do for them, it's insane, but it's a lot of fun." The premiere episode, which airs Tuesday (February 7) at 9 p.m. on UPN, features a surprise party for an LSU college student who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. ... Bono thinks that Brangelina should be taken more seriously, at least for their activist work. The U2 frontman told "Extra" that he works very closely with both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and said, "They're really serious people. They're really getting under the skin of their issues." One of Bono's current projects is lobbying President Bush to give more U.S. aid worldwide. "He seems very serious on this stuff," Bono told "Extra." "You know you can't fight the war against terror without fighting the war against poverty, because they feed each other." ...

Contrary to reports that Michael Jackson is in discussions with the Vatican to record music to Pope John Paul II's prayers, the singer's rep says that Jackson is "unaware" of the project. "Michael Jackson has not participated in any discussions, and none of his authorized representatives have contacted either the Vatican or Edizioni Musicali Terzo Millennio [an Italian music label] regarding this proposed project," his rep Raymone Bain said. ... Despite rumors that her marriage is on the rocks, Madonna's proud of herself for having a successful relationship with Guy Ritchie, she told Harper's Bazaar for the mag's March cover story. "I must admit, I have to pat myself on the back," she said. "It's not easy to be married, to have a successful career, to have children, to be with someone who is as strong-willed and as ambitious as I am ... our marriage — the union of us, the things we create together — is bigger than the petty fights we have." One of those petty fights is about where to spend their vacations — so now she's suggesting that they swap with a week each in their desired destinations. The art of compromise, she says, has made her a better person. "You become less impulsive, less reckless, less careless, less selfish," she said. "In those respects, I've changed a lot." ...

Madonna leads the nominees this year for MTV Australia's second Video Music Awards. The Material Mom's got five nods, including Best Female Artist and Album of the Year for Confessions on a Dance Floor. The video for "Hung Up" is a Video of the Year contender. Kanye West will square off against Madonna and James Blunt for the Song of the Year award, and he'll also be vying for the Best Hip-Hop Video prize against 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and the Black Eyed Peas. West is also in the running for Best Male Artist, as are Blunt and Robbie Williams. The Foo Fighters, Gorillaz, Green Day, U2 and Wolfmother are all Best Group nominees, while the Foos, Green Day, the Darkness and Wolfmother are in the running for Best Rock Video. Meanwhile, Ashlee Simpson's "Boyfriend" and Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" could walk away with the Best Pop Video award, and Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off," Chris Brown's "Run It!," Mario's "Let Me Love You" and the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" are all potential Best R&B Video champs. ...

As expected, Great White's former tour manager Daniel Biechele pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter Tuesday (February 7), charges stemming from his alleged role in the deaths of 100 people who perished in the February 2003 blaze that consumed the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Under the previously-announced plea deal, Biechele will serve no more than 10 years behind bars. He had been facing 200 counts; the other 100 will be dismissed. ... Police believe they may have solved the mystery of the disappearing paparazzo in a case tied to Oscar-nominated actress Reese Witherspoon. Cops have been searching for Todd K. Wallace for nearly two months, ever since he allegedly skipped bail after being charged with battery over his aggressive efforts to take pictures of Witherspoon and her children at Disney's California Adventure in September. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities feared the photographer — known for using aliases — might have left the country. But on Monday, the Los Angeles County coroner's office began examining a decomposed body that was found inside an apartment Sunday evening that sources said could be Wallace's. Authorities said the body of the man they found at an address reportedly used by Wallace had been there for some time. ...

Cat Power's upcoming tour, which was set to kick off in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, has been scratched. Frontwoman Chan Marshall has fallen ill, but her label isn't providing specific details about her condition, "out of respect for Chan's privacy." Ticket-refund information should be forthcoming, and the tour will be rescheduled. ... More bands have been added to this summer's Warped Tour lineup. Valient Thorr and the Riverboat Gamblers have been confirmed for the Volcom Stage on all of the tour's dates, and Gatsby's American Dream will be part of the SmartPunk Stage bill from July 16-30. ...